The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Houston Rally for Jobs

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted September 2, 2010

More than 5,500 energy workers and private citizens packed the George R. Brown Convention Center as well as two venues in Port Arthur and Corpus Christi today to stand up for jobs and the economy.

With thousands of jobs threatened by the offshore drilling moratorium, proposals for higher energy taxes, and a faltering economic recovery, people whose jobs and livelihoods depend on the oil and natural gas industry came together to send a message to Congress and the administration: They will make their voices heard in Washington and at the ballot box.

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As Carroll Robinson of the Houston Citizens Chamber of Commerce told the crowd, the president and members of Congress have forgotten that the 9.2 million U.S. workers supported by the oil and gas industry care about their children's future, about clean air and clean water, and about economic opportunity. Plus, he said energy workers are being insulted every time the administration talks about America's energy future without acknowledging that oil and natural gas keep America running.

Former Shell President John Hofmeister delivered a rousing speech in which he foretold the future of the deepwater drilling moratorium and its impact on America. He predicted that the U.S. would begin to experience a decline in oil and natural gas production in the summer of 2012, just before the presidential election. President Obama, he said, was "cutting off his nose despite his face" by keeping the moratorium in effect.

The participants, most of whom wore T-shirts emblazoned with company logos or "We Are Energy Nation," remained on their feet during the rally and roared their support for the oil and natural gas industry and Texas jobs.

Some of them hailed from Baker-Hughes, the oil services company known for its drill bits. Some of these energy workers remember the downturn of 1986, when the company was forced to lay off nearly everyone with less than 19 years of seniority. Several Baker-Hughes employees volunteered to step before the cameras to deliver personal messages to Congress and the administration.

I hope to show you a sample of their comments tomorrow when we publish a video of the Houston Rally for Jobs.

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.