The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Rallying for Their Livelihoods

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted July 22, 2010

They showed up at Louisiana State University's (LSU) the University of Louisiana at Lafayette's (ULL) Cajundome in droves, an estimated 15,000 thousand people who decided to stand up and be counted. They were energy workers, housewives, fishermen, and small-business people united in their desire to get back to work.

"I'm here because I'm worried," John Henry told an Associated Press reporter. "We're already slowing things down at work. If companies can't drill, it will get worse."

The administration's de facto moratorium on offshore drilling is threatening the jobs of tens of thousands of Gulf Coast workers. According to the LSU Center for Energy Studies, the offshore oil and natural gas industry and the companies that support it employ about 100,000 people in Louisiana alone. Add that to the number of fishermen who can't harvest seafood from the Gulf, and it's clear that a huge proportion of the Gulf Coast population is facing economic hardship.

According to reports, those who attended the "Rally for Economic Survival," sponsored by several business groups, applauded statements against the moratorium and booed the president. One of the primary speakers at the rally was Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Lt. Gov. Scott Angelle told the crowd about the role of the oil and natural gas industry in America. Here he is on CNBC in a recent interview:

Truck driver Allen Comeaux attended yesterday's rally and said he hoped the administration got the message:

"It's not just the people out on the rigs, it's the people driving trucks, delivering services, selling good. Everyone down here is beholden to oil one way or another."

The U.S. oil and natural gas industry supports 9.2 million U.S. jobs. The livelihoods and wellbeing of thousands of these workers and their families are in jeopardy from the administration's moratorium.

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.