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We all know that production of oil and natural gas has soared in the United States over the last few years. But there’s one place where production actually has dropped: on federal lands. A new government report reveals that production from federal lands – including coastal waters – reached a ten-year low in 2012.

Is energy different from other commodities? Not when it comes to free trade. Energy is fundamental to our economy, but that doesn’t make it independent of economics. That’s why government efforts to manipulate markets or set prices are destined to harm consumers.

On Friday, ExxonMobil announced a $500,000 grant to underwrite a technology job-training program in the greater Houston area that will help develop the workers to staff a rapidly expanding petrochemical industry. This comes just a few months after prospects for a “major workforce shortage” were discussed at the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers annual meeting.

Regular readers of this blog know that ExxonMobil and other energy industry companies pay a lot in taxes. But not everybody understands this basic point, particularly politicians who want to target us with even higher levies. So it was nice to see growing recognition of the tax burden shouldered by the oil and gas industry in The New York Times recently.

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