By Barry Russell, President and Chief Executive Officer, Independent Petroleum Association of America President Barack Obama was absolutely right about one thing he underscored in his recent State of the Union address, "Nowhere is the promise of innovation greater than in American-made energy." The United States is endowed with abundant oil and natural gas reserves. It also possesses the innovative technologies and work force necessary to safely develop our homegrown energy and use it to create more American jobs and strengthen national security. Unfortunately, on these critical issues, the Obama administration's actions speak louder than the president's words. And while the president has recently had somewhat of an awakening regarding the benefits tied to U.S. oil and natural gas, albeit rhetorically, it cannot be lost on the American people that this administration's energy policies have destroyed jobs, weakened our security and stifled production. President Obama speaks of developing America's natural gas resources "…without putting the health and safety of our citizens at risk." America has been safely developing its natural gas resources for a century through sound state and federal regulatory programs. But, in 2011, nine -- yes, nine -- separate federal agencies looked to implement new regulations and procedures to delay, if not altogether halt, U.S. oil and natural gas production. These efforts range from multiple agencies proposing new federal hydraulic fracturing regulations to threatening to list lizards and prairie chickens as endangered in natural gas producing states to the Interior Department trying to reinvent regulations that have been faithfully managed by the existing state-federal system. Federalizing oil and natural gas regulation will not result in tangible safe development benefits. But, needless to say, such misguided actions could paralyze production across the country. Today, the American people directly benefit from expanded shale gas development. In fact, a senior economist at the U.S. Federal Reserve recently stated that American consumers could save as much as $16.5 billion on electricity bills throughout 2012 as more U.S. natural gas is responsibly produced. Much of the shale revolution's success -- tens of thousands of new private-sector jobs, lower energy costs, millions in tax revenue -- has been made not because of this administration's policies, but in spite of them. Why? This production, overwhelmingly, is occurring on private land. As the president noted in his address, "American oil production is the highest that it's been in eight years." I am proud to say this is true. Here again, oil production increases are coming from private land development. In 2010, oil production on federal land decreased by 13%. In the same year, federal lands saw the fewest number of onshore leases since 1984. The impressive growth in U.S. oil production -- overwhelmingly on private land -- is because of America's oil producers, not heavy-handed Washington regulations. And while the Interior Department slow-walked access to government-owned oil, the onshore production of oil on private lands created tens of thousands of jobs and much-needed tax revenues in states like North Dakota. Last November, North Dakota alone surpassed OPEC member nation Ecuador in oil production -- a boost in production from 2.0 million barrels in 2002 to 16 million barrels in 2011. As for production of America's abundant, job-creating oil and natural gas resources offshore, the administration's soaring rhetoric is fundamentally misaligned with the cold, hard facts. We hear the president announcing that his administration will open 75% of our potential offshore oil and gas resources for exploration, but we know he is referring to leasing that has been scheduled for years in the same areas that have been producing for a half century. Recall the president's visit to Brazil, where he stated that he wants the United States "to be one of [Brazil's] best customers" for oil produced off its shores. That's better than getting oil from Iran and Venezuela, for sure, but why shouldn't American oil and natural gas, and other sources, serve as the foundation for our nation's energy policy? The unnecessary de facto moratorium on offshore drilling that this administration reflexively put in place remains a key impediment for struggling communities along the Gulf Coast whose livelihoods have been upended as a result. And while offshore permits are beginning to once again move, though at glacially slow rates, it's important to recognize that just 2% of our offshore areas are leased for development -- not the implied 75% in the president's speech. America's independent oil and natural gas producers remain focused on responsibly leveraging our nation's resources in a way that protects our environment and realizes broad-based economic and security benefits. President Obama's newfound embrace of America's vast oil and natural gas potential is encouraging. We hope his words signal a change in the direction of his administration. This commentary is available from the Independent Petroleum Association of America.