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Salazar, Abbey Discuss $112 Billion Economic Contribution of BLM Public Lands; Focus on Increasing Safe and Responsible Energy Production


OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – In a visit today to Oklahoma City, Secretary of the
Interior Ken Salazar outlined the economic importance of U.S. energy
production and called the public lands managed by the Bureau of Land
Management (BLM) “one of the nation’s greatest assets – both economically
and environmentally.”

Secretary Salazar noted that America’s public lands and their resources
contributed more than $112 billion to the U.S. economy and supported more
than a half-million American jobs in 2010, the bulk of which came from the
management of energy and non-energy mineral resources and recreation.

“President Obama has made it clear that we must continue to move toward a
secure energy future that will have long-lasting economic benefits,”
Salazar said. “This includes continuing to encourage safe and responsible
oil and natural gas production in the short-term while making America more
energy independent in the long-term.

The Bureau of Land Management has a field office in Oklahoma that manages
7.4 million acres of public land and minerals in the states of Oklahoma,
Kansas and Texas. That field office administers extraction, use and sale
of oil, gas and coal and ensures that operations are conducted safely and
in an environmentally responsible manner. The Oklahoma Field office also
ensures that oil and gas operations on Indian lands are conducted according
to lease terms and conditions, approved plans, and existing laws and
regulations.

“The BLM, which manages 245 million acres of public lands and 700 million
acres of mineral estate, is an engine of economic activity,” said BLM
Director Bob Abbey, who joined the Secretary by phone. “It raises more
revenue each year for American taxpayers than it spends and helps stimulate
investment and innovation by businesses.”

Salazar said the mineral-related contributions to the economy from
BLM-managed resources are expected to increase in 2011, with 33 oil and gas
lease sales scheduled and more than 7,200 applications-for-permit-to-drill
on public lands and Indian lands expected to be processed – up from
approximately 5,000 in 2010.

“In addition, we are already seeing significant benefits from the
President’s initiative to increase renewable energy development that will
help secure America’s long-term prosperity and help reduce our dependence
on foreign oil,” Salazar said.

In 2010, the production of geothermal and wind energy on BLM-managed lands
contributed more than $361 million to the nation’s economy. Secretary
Salazar also noted that with several important solar projects poised for
development, the economic and social benefits from the Administration’s
historic investment in clean energy will increase considerably and provide
much-needed diversity in the America’s long-term energy portfolio.

Director Abbey also highlighted the economic benefits of the diverse
recreational opportunities afforded by BLM public lands. In 2010, more
than 58 million recreation-related visits were made to BLM-managed lands
and water. These visits provided a nationwide economic benefit of $7.4
billion dollars.

“Not only do these public lands generate revenue and jobs through
development of important mineral resources such as oil and gas, timber, and
grazing, they are increasingly yielding significant economic benefits from
recreation, natural and cultural resources, and conservation of important
wildlife and plant habitats,” Abbey said.

The BLM has produced a fact sheet titled "The BLM: A Sound Investment for
America," which provides a state-by-state breakdown of economic impacts of
activities on BLM-managed land. The national numbers will differ from any
total of individual state impacts, because the national model incorporates
impacts that cross state borders. This is especially significant in the
oil and gas industry, where the complex, interstate supply chain provides a
much greater impact than the compilation of state numbers might imply. The
fact sheet is available at: http://blm.gov/4q5c


The BLM manages more land – over 245 million acres -- than any other
federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands,
is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The Bureau,
with a budget of about $1 billion, also administers 700 million acres of
sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's multiple-use
mission is to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands for
the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. The Bureau
accomplishes this by managing such activities as outdoor recreation,
livestock grazing, mineral development, and energy production, and by
conserving natural, historical, cultural, and other resources on public
lands.

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