Fact Checking Romney’s Permits Claim: Under Obama Permits Declined Over a Third (+video)

During the Presidential Debate this evening, Romney asserted that permitting for oil and gas on federal lands decreased by 50% under Obama.

Although Obama denied this, the Los Angeles Times states that there was a significant drop from 2008 forward:

Mitt Romney said “the president cut in half the number of licenses and permits for drilling on federal lands and in federal waters.”

According to the Bureau of Land Management, in fiscal year 2011, 2,188 leases were issued for energy development on federal lands. Four years earlier, in fiscal year 2007, 3499 leases were issued. So, not quite a 50% drop, but a drop nonetheless.

Here’s a clip from the debate where Romney went after Obama on the permits issue: