(CNSNews.com) - The Obama administration is taking credit for the increase in U.S. oil and gas production, even though it's happened in spite of the president's policies.
In an exchange on "Fox News Sunday," host Chris Wallace challenged White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough when McDonough boasted of increased oil production.
McDonough was making the point that it's time to enact policies beneficial to middle class families, now that the economic crisis is over:
"It's decades now that wages have stagnated, for hard-working middle-class families. (Obama's) saying enough is enough, we're out of the crisis of the last several years. Unemployment is down under 5.6 percent. More oil produced in this country than in any time in the last several decades.
"No thanks to the Obama administration," Wallace said, referring to the increased oil production.
McDonough complained that Obama is blamed for bad things that happen, but gets no credit for the good things, such as increased oil production.
Wallace noted that the increased oil and gas production has happened on private and state-owned lands, not on land owned by the federal government.
"More clean energy than ever in this country," McDonough responded. "More oil and gas --"
"Again, no thanks to this administration," Wallace said.
"More oil and gas produced in this country than ever before," McDonough insisted.
"Again, no thanks to this administration," Wallace repeated.
"We're producing more than we import for the first time in two decades. That means lower energy prices, that means more jobs, and it's time for us to focus on the middle class," McDonough said.
Wallace did not challenge him again.
It is true that oil and gas production has increased during Obama's time in office, but the gains have come on private and state-owned land, not on land owned by the federal government.
According to a March 2013 Congressional Research Service report, U.S. natural gas production has increased 20 percent since fiscal 2007. Natural gas production on federal lands (onshore and offshore) fell by about 33 percent since FY 2007, while production on non-federal (private and state) lands grew by 40 percent, mainly because of shale gas production.
It's the same story with oil production: On non-federal lands, there were modest fluctuations in oil production from fiscal years 2008-2010, then a significant increase from FY2010 to FY2012, increasing total U.S. oil production by about 1.1 million barrels per day over FY2007 production levels. All of the increase from FY2007 to FY2012 took place on non-federal lands, and the federal share of total U.S. crude oil production fell by about seven percentage points.
In a February 2012 speech, President Obama insisted that the U.S. "can't just drill our way to lower gas prices." He has made "green" energy a priority and imposed new regulations on the fossil fuel industries.
Obama's EPA recently announced it will regulate methane emissions from new natural gas wells for the first time -- an attempt to curb fracking.