During the second presidential debate on Tuesday night, President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney had a tense exchange over the production of oil on federal lands and waters.
Romney asserted that the President had cut permits and licenses for oil production on federal land and waters in half. But Obama insisted that his claim was false. During the exchange, Romney and Obama frequently interrupted each other.
“Here is what happened,” Obama eventually explained. “You had a whole bunch of companies that had leases on public land that they weren’t using. So what we said was, you can’t just sit on this for ten, twenty, thirty years, decide when you want to drill, you want to produce when it is most profitable for you. These are public lands. So if you want to drill on public lands, you use it or you lose it.”
But Romney responded that oil production was down 14 percent on public land, which Obama again insisted was false.
Oil production did drop from 2010 to 2011, but it was still higher than when Obama took office. Oil production on federal lands and water was down 13.8 percent in 2011 compared to 2010, according to the Boston Globe. However, oil production on federal lands and water was up 10.6 percent in 2011 compared to 2008.
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