Skip to comments.Fed govt: No, Nevada, you cannot have oil-and-gas prosperity
Posted on 10/28/2013 7:12:48 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
President Obama is usually quite pleased to credit the upsurge in oil-and-gas production and the downswing in oil imports that has been happening throughout his presidency as the direct result of his administrations policies, and they would prefer that you not investigate the matter too closely and just trust that his support of renewables and biofuels and what have you combined with his prudent, keen sense of know-how for creating just enough traditional energy jobs is the source of the economic growth supporting his otherwise stagnant economic recovery.
If you were to investigate more thoroughly, however, you would quickly notice that the types of energy booms resulting in jobs and prosperity that were seeing in North Dakota, Texas, and etcetera are largely due to the auspices of oil-and-gas companies operating on state and private lands. The Obama administration will loudly and gladly direct your attention to the projects for fast-tracking giant wind and solar projects on public lands (the first of which took place last week and was a complete flop), but they are conspicuously less vocal about the ways in which theyre deliberately slowing down oil-and-gas permitting on public lands.
An excellent example from the home state of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, via the Las-Vegas Review Journal about a swath of land about 200 miles north of Las Vegas:
Here, in 1984, the Grant Canyon oil-field wells were first drilled. For nearly 10 years, before tapering off in the mid-1990s, the Grant wells produced about 110,000 barrels of oil per month. During these years, the Grant wells were the most productive onshore wells in the 48 contiguous states. Through most of the 1980s, in this section of rural Nye County, these few wells generated prosperity.
Despite this success, however, Nevada oil exploration has been slow and sporadic. In part this was because of a technological inability to identify and economically extract oil reserves. The rock formation beneath Railroad Valley and much of Eastern Nevada, known as the Chainman Shale, contains petroleum, but until recently the technology to extract it did not exist.
In 1995, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated that the Chainman Shale formation could contain as much as 383 million barrels of undiscovered oil, as well as 242 billion cubic feet of natural gas. Ten years later, using more sophisticated modeling techniques, the USGS. upgraded that estimate to 1.598 billion barrels of oil and 1.836 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
In other words, Eastern Nevada could be sitting on one of the most energy-rich rock formations in the entire world. Around the time of the updated estimate, one oil developer told Las Vegas reporters, You have the richest largest organic mature rock source anyplace in the world except Saudi Arabia or Kuwait. There is no doubt, I can assure you 100 percent, you are sitting on some of the greatest wealth in this country and the world.
The only major obstacle to this potential boon? You guessed it: The federal government owns and controls most of Nevada, and while they will occasionally auction of some mineral rights and approve some drilling permits, they have steadily blocked the type of large-scale development were seeing elsewhere in the country. Unfortunately for Nevadans and Americans in general, that energy development could provide, according to one studys estimates, more than 21,000 jobs and $100 million in revenue for Nevada i.e., exactly the type of economic growth of which were sorely in need.
This just got me thinking; Just how long has it been since a politician has been tarred and feathered, and run out of town?
Yes, and there was one more wrinkle:
The state got to say what they, the state wanted to keep and what was already privately owned. The “un-owned” lands within the state border were ceded to the US government.
The later states in the west (Nevada was admitted in 1864) were much smarter about this issue than Nevada was. Nevada just gave up everything in sight except what lands were wet from Carson up to Reno. When the transcontinental railroad came through, the biggest expansion of private land came with it. Every other section for 10 miles on either side of the railroad was ceded to the UPRR in return for their completion of the rail system.
Later, the private estate was increased by use of Desert Land Entries, which are complicated enough that I won’t describe them here. We used to farm a section that had been converted to private ownership in 1962 by a DLE application.
Why was so much land ceded to the Feds in 1864? Well, Nevada, after all, was controlled by Republicans, and the Republicans were the party of “all for the federal government” during the Civil War. It was another case of the GOP being the “stupid party.” They haven’t gotten any smarter since.
As an example of how other states looked at NV’s situation and decided to make a better deal: Wyoming, when it was admitted in ‘90, held back a lot more ground. WY is only 48% controlled by the Feds, and much of that is in Yellowstone, a few Indian reservations, national forests, etc.
The other contributing factor to the federal ownership was the split-estate use of the federal lands. The Feds could “own” the lands, but water sources were still state or privately owned. The Feds could own the land, but graziers could still own the grass. The Feds could own the “surface estate” of land, but miners could still stake mineral claims, and so on.
The history and mechanisms of federal control over western lands are such a complicated issue that I wish anyone east of the 100th parallel were prohibited from opening their yaps on the topic. The nonsense that comes out of easterners on this topic is a never-ending torrent of absolute nonsense...
From Sea To Shining Sea we have the resources to make the entire Middle East irrelevant as to economic power, and they know it.
If we don’t get this muslim fraud and usurper out, and get a leader that will put America first we are doomed.
Correct, but there was a second part.
Originally, in the eastern part of the nation, in the wet zone, the fed would disperse these lands in increments of 360 or 180 acres either at very reasonable price or as a homestead. They wanted the land settled and they wanted to make some money off of it.
This policy worked fine in the wet zone. With adequate rainfall a farmer can do well with a farm that size.
But when you get beyond the 98th meridian into the dry zone, the 360/180 acre doesn't work. The advisors told congress this wouldn't work and they should so what Spain, Mexico, and Texas did, pass out larger segments of land. But congress refused.
Instead Congress tried grazing commons that led to conflicts. Grazing leases which have created their unique problems. The rancher may own only 360 acres but has the semi-permanent grazing rights to 20,000 acres, which led to the sagebrush rebellion. Also dam/lake building with an irrigation project. A farmer in dry western Oregon with 180/360 acres of irrigated farmland does well.
But there was a lot of land that nobody wanted under the conditions it was being offered. Eventually these lands began to have a recreational value or a development value. So Congress turned it into Turtle Island, set it aside. To go along with that, Congress changed the tax laws to promote limited environmentally conscious private land use and environmental easements.