The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Jobs: Putting America's Energy to Work

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted January 26, 2010

The President delivers his State of the Union address tomorrow, and we expect the focus to be on jobs, as it should be with 15 million Americans out of work. We welcome the President's move to job creation and the economy and extend our hand to work together toward this worthy goal.

We also hope the President takes the opportunity to recognize the potential of energy development to create more jobs; not only jobs from producing more so-called "green energy," but also from producing more American oil and natural gas.

The American oil and natural gas industry clearly has a role to play in putting Americans back to work. The industry already supports more than 9 million American jobs and can create many more. The industry created more than two million additional American jobs in the years 2004 to 2007 alone.

We are also a leading creator of green jobs. Using Center for American Progress economic assumptions, we have created 1.2 million green jobs, and there is more potential. Between 2000 and 2008, the oil and natural gas industry invested more than $58 billion on these and other carbon mitigation technologies, more than either the federal government or the rest of private industry combined.

It will take commonsense adjustments to energy policy so companies can invest more of their own dollars producing more of the nation's domestic oil and natural gas. This won't require taxpayer dollars or government handouts. We don't need an earmark or stimulus, just an opportunity.

A key talking point for this administration and Congress is lessening our dependence on imported energy. Yet the very policies it is pursuing will actually make our nation more, not less, dependent on imported energy. Some of the policies advanced recently seem aimed at stifling the job creation potential of domestic oil and natural gas development.

Tax proposals in the budget are anti-jobs, anti-consumer and anti-energy. Other initiatives would adversely affect leasing and development on federal lands and U.S. waters and drive up the costs of doing business.

In his State of the Union address, the President will correctly focus on what it can do to lessen the burden on America's working class. Surely part of that plan should include increasing, not decreasing, supplies of affordable and reliable domestic oil and natural gas.

Just a week or so ago, Pennsylvania, a state that had originally proposed a severance tax on gas production, garnered more than $128 million in a single natural gas lease sale--more than double what the state had expected from the sale.

Greater opportunities to develop domestic oil and natural gas resources would deliver more money in royalties and other payments to government coffers, while also creating lots of well-paying jobs and greater supplies of domestic energy. Higher taxes would have only discouraged investment and driven companies to other states or other countries.

The nexus between more energy development of all kinds and more jobs is strong. We hope the administration comes to recognize that.

With the administration and all Americans, we share a common goal: More jobs.

And we're ready to work with everyone to attain it. We need to move beyond political sloganeering and work together to create common sense energy and economic policy that is non-partisan, a policy that will get Americans working again, put the economy firmly back on its feet and bolster our energy security.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.