The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Responding to the SOTU: "The President Can Do More to Create Jobs"

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted January 26, 2011

The following is API President and CEO Jack Gerard's response to the President's State of the Union Address.

The American people spoke loud and clear in the last election and directed the president and new Congress to focus on one main issue-job creation. It's unfortunate that the administration seems poised to stifle what remains one of America's strongest job creating industries.

Tonight was a missed opportunity. The president focused on job growth through federal spending, but was silent on one of the best ways to create jobs: allow more energy development.

Natural gas and renewables are important components of our energy mix, but we will need our nation's vast oil resources for decades to come. The oil and natural gas industry is a key driver of new jobs and economic prosperity Producing more oil and gas at home, which most Americans want, could create hundreds of thousands of jobs, reduce our deficit by billions, and enhance our energy security. Even better, the government wouldn't have to invest a single taxpayer dollar - just give industry a green light to invest its own money.

The U.S. oil and natural gas industry also pays taxes at effective rates far higher than most other industries, and does not receive payments from the government to support oil and gas development. The tax deductions it does receive are similar to those enjoyed by other industries to encourage energy production and new jobs. We need policies that help the 9.2 million hardworking men and women in the industry, not hurt them.

The industry also invests in low- and zero-carbon emission technologies, such as wind, solar, and geothermal technologies. Total industry investment in these forms of energy - over $58 billion dollars from 2000 to 2008 - are more than the federal government and more than all other industries combined. However, the energy reality is that we need to continue investing in all forms of energy, and we are standing ready to help us get back on track.

The oil and natural gas industry provides over 60 percent of America's energy, and it will continue to be the energy leader for decades to come. We need to produce U.S. oil and natural gas resources. This means getting back to work in the Gulf of Mexico, access in Alaska, and opening up the Atlantic and Pacific coastal areas to exploration. This is an issue the president and the new Congress should address.

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.