The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Energy Development: The Key to Economic Growth

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted November 4, 2010

If the new Congress wants to put Americans back to work, it should take steps to encourage the domestic production of oil and natural gas.

In two great columns this week, Mark Maddox of American Action Forum and Michael Whatley of the Consumer Energy Alliance discuss the U.S. oil and natural gas industry's ability to create jobs.

In The Hill, Maddox addresses the natural gas boom and writes:

"At a time when every nation in the industrial world is scrambling to create jobs, the United States government should send a clear signal that it intends to make our nation's affordable energy available to spur economic growth...With more than a 100-year supply of gas from U.S. shale formations, this newly accessible resource is a game changer and it's time our leaders seized this opportunity."

In May, a Penn State study found that Marcellus Shale development could create 212,000 new jobs during the next 10 years and generate more than $1.8 billion in state and local tax revenues during the next 18 months. In his Op-Ed, Maddox says an IHS Global Insight report found the natural gas industry already is responsible for 2.8 million jobs and $385 billion annually in economic activity.

And with regard to offshore drilling, in a column in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Whatley points out the economic benefits of reinstating the proposed lease sale off Virginia's coast. It had been scheduled for 2011 before it was canceled by the administration:

"The suspension of Lease Sale 220 put a screeching halt to significant job creation and economic development that Virginia desperately needs. According to a report recently released by the Southeast Energy Alliance, Virginia could receive up to $250 million annually in revenue sharing payments from offshore energy development, as well as create almost 2,000 new jobs and increase the state's gross domestic product by $365 million annually by 2030. Unfortunately, this tremendous economic opportunity will remain under lock and key...."

The U.S. oil and natural gas industry supports 9.2 million U.S. jobs and stands ready to create thousands more. But it must have access to energy-rich onshore and offshore areas. As Maddox explains in his column:

"Going forward policymakers, specifically Congress, must hold firm against those who would seek to roll back recent progress the nation has made regarding utilization of resources and positioning America to compete internationally as a world class gas producer."

More information about the benefits of U.S. oil and natural production is available on