Former Obama Official: Keep it in the Ground Approach “Not a Good Way to Go”

David Hayes, the former No. 2 Interior Department official under President Obama told members of Congress last week that ‘Keep it in the Ground’ policies that seek an immediate end to oil and gas development are “not a good way to go.”

Mr. Hayes, in response to a question from House Natural Resources Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee Chairman Alan Lowenthal (D-CA) on the feasibility of the ‘Keep it in the Ground’ approach, said:

“I believe that’s not a good way to go. The reality is that we have a lot of infrastructure on our public lands to produce oil and gas. It’s providing an important contribution to our economy. The issue is not so much the fact that—and I think good points have been made that if there were not oil and gas drilling on our public lands we’d get oil and gas from somewhere else. This is not the majority of the oil and gas provided in the United States.”

When pressed further on the issue, Mr. Hayes told Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA) that:

“It’s impractical and inappropriate to stop oil and gas drilling on our public lands and offshore waters right now.”

And at the conclusion of the hearing, reiterated to Rep. Lowenthal that ‘Keep it in the Ground’ was not practical:

“I’d say the one point I would want to clarify is right at the outset of the hearing I was asked about whether I agreed with ‘keep it in the ground’ or not as a philosophy and I said ‘no’ and what I meant was is that I do not believe that it’s practical or appropriate to today stop all oil and gas drilling on our public lands.”