Jane Van Ryan
Posted June 15, 2009
When asked to summarize her trip to Washington last week, one of the women from the oil and natural gas industry offered two words--"extremely enlightening." She was one of 29 women from energy companies who fanned out across Capitol Hill to meet with members and staffers from the U.S. Senate and House and to challenge the misperceptions about the oil and natural gas industry.
After the meetings had concluded, the industry representatives said one of the most prevalent misperceptions was the notion that oil and natural gas companies are standing in the way of progress. Not so, the women explained. They said their companies are energy companies, investing in alternative and renewable sources of energy as well as oil and natural gas. As one woman put it, "There's a perception that we are exclusive in our views on energy. That's not true. We need to help people understand we are the leader in the transition to the fuels of the future."
"Many legislators have never visited an oilfield, a refinery, an offshore platform," another woman said. "It would be good for them to see how clean, safe and environmentally friendly they are."
A total of 25 meetings were held on Capitol Hill, including one session that was attended by six U.S. Senators. At a gathering held just before the women left Washington and headed home, API President and CEO Jack Gerard thanked the women for coming to Washington, and he indicated that more meetings between oil and natural gas workers and elected officials would be planned in the near future.
For more about the Women-in-Energy meetings in Washington, watch this video below.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jane Van Ryan was formerly senior communications manager and new media advisor at the American Petroleum Institute (API), where she wrote blog posts and produced podcasts and videos. Before coming to API, Jane managed communications for a large science and engineering corporation, and for a top-tier research and engineering university. A few years ago, you might have seen her in your living room when she delivered the news on television. Jane officially retired from API in 2011 and now freelances as an independent communications consultant when not gardening at her farm in Virginia.