The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Energy Today - June 17, 2011

Rayola Dougher

Rayola Dougher
Posted June 17, 2011

New York Times: Americans Support Offshore Drilling, but Washington Wavers: The last year and a half has brought a rapid sequence of reversals in the Obama administration's policy toward oil and gas exploration on public lands and in United States waters. Since the beginning of 2010, Washington has caromed from a restrictive approach to drilling to a permissive policy closely mirroring that of the Bush administration to a near-total shutdown of offshore drilling after the Deepwater Horizon blowout in the Gulf of Mexico. After that fatal accident, the administration decreed a deepwater drilling moratorium, lifted it six months later, then took five more months before beginning to issue drilling permits. Throughout that time, the American public's attitudes toward domestic oil and gas development have been remarkably consistent: Americans are in favor of it, though Democrats and those on the coasts are much less likely than Republicans and those in the South and Southwest to be supportive. National support for offshore drilling and for domestic oil and gas development generally dipped for a time after the BP disaster -- from a strong majority to a bare majority -- but quickly rebounded. A Gallup poll taken immediately after the gulf spill showed that 50 percent of Americans supported offshore drilling while 46 percent opposed it. By March of this year, public support had risen to 60 percent versus 37 percent. The administration's offshore drilling policy, like its fervor for domestic production more generally, has gone through rapid changes. The Salt Lake Tribune: 'Fracking' is fine: The Tribune editorial "Cleaner drilling: Basin project could be model" (Our View, June 13) rightly underscores the enormous benefits associated with environmentally responsible, American natural gas production. But the claim that hydraulic fracturing "has contaminated groundwater in other parts of the country" is fundamentally unsupported by the facts, as well as the technology's 60-year record of environmental safety. In fact, at a recent congressional hearing, Lisa Jackson, President Barack Obama's Environmental Protection Agency administrator, said, "I'm not aware of any proven case where the fracking process itself has affected water." She's absolutely right. And this is because fracturing is effectively and tightly regulated -- and has been for decades.

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: Marcellus aids Pa. jobless rate: Pennsylvania's jobless rate fell slightly to 7.4 percent in May as the booming natural gas industry added more jobs, the state said on Thursday. The unemployment rate, adjusted for seasonal hiring factors, was 0.1 percentage point below April's rate of 7.5 percent, the state Department of Labor and Industry said. May's rate also was 1.3 percentage points below the May 2010 rate of 8.7 percent. Despite the lower rate, "the May report raises serious concerns that a renewed weakness in the national economy is being felt here in Pennsylvania," said Mark Price, a labor economist for the Keystone Research Center, a research organization in Harrisburg.

Additional Resources:

NorthcentralPA.com: What They're Saying: Marcellus Shale Creating Optimism About The Future

Reuters: Two Transocean rigs to leave U.S. Gulf of Mexico

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.