SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Officials say oil and gas drilling is up across Utah and the West despite declining production on federal lands.
That helps clarify the argument between President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney in Tuesday night's presidential debate.
Utah and industry officials say oil and gas production was up across the country last year because of drilling on state and private lands, not federal lands. That was Romney's point.
Obama argued, however, that oil production has increased on federal lands since he took office in 2008. An Energy Department study backs him up.
Utah's energy czar, Cody Stewart, told state lawmakers in a hearing Wednesday that thanks to drilling on state and private lands last year across Utah, oil and gas production was up 14.5 percent and 5.7 percent, respectively.
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