The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Concern about Jobs Trumps Climate Worries

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted January 11, 2010

With the unemployment rate standing at 10 percent, concerns about the economy are trumping support for climate legislation. News reports from around the country indicate a growing unease with legislation or regulations that are aimed at reducing greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions due to their potential impact on jobs.

The Wall Street Journal today reports that several states are urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to "go slowly" in promulgating new climate rules. South Carolina, for example, sent a letter to the EPA on Dec. 23, saying "the proposal will cause chaos and warned that many construction projects--and jobs--are at risk," the Journal reports.

Similarly, members of Congress are concerned about EPA's plans to regulate GHGs. The Associated Press reports that Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.) stated during the weekend that controlling carbon dioxide should be Congress' job. Pomeroy has written a bill that would declare federal air quality laws were not meant to apply to GHGs.

In the Senate, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) is supporting an amendment that would stop EPA's climate change regulations. As Greenwire reports, the amendment will be attached to legislation to raise the federal debt limit and could be voted on as early as Jan. 20.

In California, Assemblyman Dan Logue is reportedly collecting signatures for a ballot initiative to postpone The Golden State's cap-and-trade program until the unemployment rate falls to 5.5 percent. Today the state's jobless rate is 12.3 percent.

As unemployment takes center stage in the nation's political debate, many people are asking: What could help to create more jobs? Here's an answer.

Allow the oil and natural gas industry to do what it does best--produce energy here in the United States. If the industry were given access to more promising areas onshore and offshore, it could produce energy and improve the nation's security, create well-paying jobs and generate revenue for federal, state and local governments.

Perhaps Michael at Monoblogue said it best: "When an industry directly or indirectly supports over 9 million jobs it seems to me they should have a better place at the economic table."

Hat tip to Michael Swartz.