Fact Checking Romney’s Claim that Production of Oil on Public Lands is Down (+video)

One of the most intense exchanges of the night arose over the question of permitting and oil production on public lands.

In the segment below, Romney claimed that hydrocarbon production on government land is down. He stated that oil production is down 14% and gas production is down 9%.

Although Obama vigorously denied this, the Washington Post states that “Romney’s telling the truth when he says, ‘Production of oil on public land is down 14 percent and production of gas on public land is down 9 percent.’ That’s because energy production on federal lands is down compared to 2010, according to the Energy Information Administration.” However, the Post adds that production is “still higher than where production stood under President George W. Bush.”

The National Journal has a different take because it evaluated three years of production (2008 to 2011) rather than comparing just the last two years. By reviewing production over the longer range, it found both candidates were right and wrong: “Oil production on public lands is up 12 percent from 2008 to 2011, according to a March report by the Energy Information Administration…Natural-gas production on public lands is down 16.5 percent between 2008 and 2011, according to the same EIA report…Coal production on public lands is down 7.8 percent from 2008 to 2011.”