Opportunities Missed at White House Jobs Summit
EDITOR’S NOTE: Because I was unable to participate in the American Petroleum Institute conference call with reporters this morning, I offer space for covering that call to API’s Jane Van Ryan.
By Jane Van Ryan
American Petroleum Institute President Jack Gerard and Devon Energy CEO and Chairman Larry Nichols called the White House Jobs Summit a “missed opportunity” during a conference call with reporters this morning, and wondered why the oil and natural gas industry was not invited.
America’s oil and natural industry employs and supports a total of 9.2 million U.S. jobs. It powers most of the energy that heats U.S. homes, fuels factories and offices, and gets people to home and work. It also adds more than $1 trillion to the national economy.
Yet, Nichols said today that despite the fact that the industry asked to attend today’s Jobs Summit, he was not aware of anyone from an oil and natural gas trade association or a traditional energy company who had been invited.
With more than 15 million Americans unemployed today, the industry can help, Nichols said. To cite an example, he pointed to the jobs expected to be generated by Marcellus Shale development in Pennsylvania. According to a Penn State study, natural gas drilling and production could create 175,000 new jobs in Pennsylvania alone during the next ten years.
“We think we could be a very constructive part of the solution to bring the economy back,” Gerard said, as he called for the federal government to open more onshore and offshore areas to oil and natural gas production.
Nichols and Gerard also cautioned that some of the policies being discussed in Washington could hurt job creation, not help it. Climate legislation, the health care bill, and the administration’s 2010 proposed budget all contain tax increases that could have a chilling effect on job creation. As Nichols explained, the administration’s budget proposal would take 20 percent of the industry’s cash, forcing companies to reduce employment and cut back on energy development at a time when the country needs more energy, not less.
Gerard added that the industry is not seeking a bail out or stimulus money.
“We just want the opportunity to do what we do so well,” which is create jobs, generate government revenues and fuel the U.S. economy.
“The public gets it,” Gerard said, as shown by the recent outpouring of support for energy development during the Interior Department’s comment period on offshore leasing. “Just give us the opportunity.”
Read this brochure for more information about the economic impact of the oil and natural gas industry.
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See also: API’s press release on today’s teleconference held ahead of the White House Jobs Summit.
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