The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Energy Today - March 29, 2011

Rayola Dougher

Rayola Dougher
Posted March 29, 2011

Fuel Fix: Stakes For Tuesday's Senate EPA Vote Run As High As 1.4 Million Jobs: How can Obama tout exploration off the coast of Rio de Janeiro when he's stood in opposition to the same activity off of our own shores? A similar question stems from this week's political battle over EPA regulation. How can the administration and its allies claim jobs and the economy as their top priorities while allowing federal regulators to impose what would amount to, as TIME magazine put it, "the most far-reaching environmental regulatory scheme in American history." According to analysis by the American Council for Capital Formation, EPA's greenhouse gas rules at would cost America 46,000 to 1.4 million lost jobs and $25 billion to $75 billion in lost capital investment by 2014. Such losses prompted The Wall Street Journal to note "the question for Democrats is whether their loyalties to President Obama and EPA Chief Lisa Jackson trump the larger economic good, not to mention constituents already facing far higher energy costs." Since EPA regulations would disproportionally hit agriculture and industrial sectors, this should all be of particular concern to farm-state Democrats and those in manufacturing-heavy states -- especially Michigan's Debbie Stabenow, Pennsylvania's Robert Case, Nebraska's Ben Nelson, Missouri's Claire McCaskill, and other senators up for reelection. The Republican Herald: Shale commission touts economic benefits of natural gas; some call for more regulation: The governor's Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission began its work Friday with many members touting the future economic promise of plentiful natural gas reserves and a handful calling for more state regulation of gas drilling operations. The 30-member commission is charged with developing a comprehensive plan to guide development of Pennsylvania's extensive Marcellus Shale gas deposits into the next century. Facing a four-month deadline to complete its work, commission members gave their own personal assessments about the opportunities and challenges of developing the Marcellus Shale reserves. Northeast Pennsylvania got its first seat at the commission table with the arrival of Richard J. Allan, just nominated by Gov. Tom Corbett to head the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. A commercial recycler, Allan has longstanding ties to Luzerne County and environmental groups in the region.

The Chamber Post: The Truth About "Use it or Lose It" on Oil and Gas Exploration: Of all the arguments that opponents of new domestic oil and gas exploration use, none are as big a fallacy as the myth that oil companies are "sitting on" a large percentage of available land to explore. This argument has led to so-called "use it or lose it" proposals which would place new timelines and restrictions on exploration. The basic argument gained attention in 2008 when America saw dramatic increases in gas prices. Yet a closer look reveals this to be little more than rhetorical excuse for not taking any concrete action to address rising prices. Today there are some reports that seem to indicate that the Department of Interior is attempting to restart this old debate. Unfortunately, it is not based on fact and certainly displays a lack of understanding of the government's own permitting process.

Energy Tribune: Actions Speak Louder Than Words: On Sunday, March 20, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, dodged questions about his support of high gas prices while admitting that they would go up--saying the administration is working to take the "pain out of high gas prices." A week earlier, the day of Japan's catastrophic earthquake, President Obama held a press conference on gas prices in which he bragged about "producing more oil and importing less," claiming to be moving on an energy strategy that pursues "more energy production" and increases access to "secure energy supplies." These statements would leave us to believe that the administration cares about the "pain" of high energy prices Americans are facing and wants a secure "energy future." Instead they are a distraction from the true actions of the administration that block access to America's energy. Space does not permit a thorough review of the energy killing policies, but here's a sampling of the administration's actions indicative of the breadth of sources, agencies, and locales. Banning deep-water drilling in the Gulf is probably the most well known energy-killer. Immediately after the BP spill, Obama issued a moratorium that prevented potential oil production. The ban, originally thrown out by a US District Judge, expired November 30th, 2010, but virtually no permits have been issued since--creating a de facto ban. On February 17th, the same judge ordered the Interior Department to act quickly on offshore drilling applications--calling the inaction "increasingly inexcusable." Not only have gas prices gone up as a result, jobs have been lost and businesses have gone bankrupt.

Additional Resources

Hot Air: WaPo: Why is Obama pursuing a "Drill, Brazil, Drill" strategy?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rayola Dougher is senior economist at The American Petroleum Institute (API), where she analyzes information, manages projects and develops briefing materials on energy markets and oil industry policy issues. She is the author or co-author of economic research studies covering a diverse range of topics including crude oil and petroleum product markets, gasoline taxes, energy conservation and competition in retail markets. In addition to testifying before federal and state legislators, she has participated in numerous newspaper, radio and television interviews on a wide range of issues affecting the oil industry, including crude oil and gasoline prices, industry taxes and earnings, exploration and production, and refining and marketing topics.

Prior to joining API, Rayola worked at the Institute for Energy Analysis where her research focused on carbon dioxide related issues and international energy demand and supply forecasts. Rayola holds a Masters degree in Economic Development and East Asian studies from the American University and a degree in History and Political Science from the State University of New York at Brockport.