Natural Gas and Oil are Building a Brighter Future for All
Posted March 9, 2020
From recent remarks to a meeting of the Aurora, Colorado, Chamber of Commerce and the Colorado Business Roundtable.
The Aurora Chamber aspires to be a catalyst, convener and champion of the Aurora business community. That caught my attention because at API, we see ourselves in much the same way, especially now, when the State of American Energy is one of leadership. America is the global leader in energy development, carbon emissions reductions and environmental performance.
Our industry is built on the catalysts who meet the world’s ever-growing energy demand, conveners who address the risks of climate change, and champions who promote all the Americans working 10.9 million jobs supported by the natural gas and oil industry.
Terrific visit with members of the Aurora Chamber of Commerce and Colorado Business Roundtable. As one of the top producers in America, Colorado plays a huge role in energy leadership, economic success, and environmental progress. @AuroraChamberCO @ColoradoBRT pic.twitter.com/Ka36EZ57Ir— Mike Sommers (@mj_sommers) March 4, 2020
You can’t spark the economy or an American energy revolution without a catalyst. Put simply, the natural gas and oil industry powers Colorado communities. As the seventh-largest producer of natural gas and fifth-largest producer of oil in the U.S., Colorado plays a huge role in energy leadership, economic success and environmental progress.
The natural gas and oil industry in your state supports 232,900 jobs, resulting in $23.1 billion in wages and more than $1 billion in public revenue to support schools, roads, and other public priorities. In Aurora’s Sixth Congressional District alone, this industry supports 24,900 jobs – almost 6% of the district’s total employment. Natural gas and oil adds more than $3.3 billion – 7.5% of the district’s total economy.
So, we’re proud to have helped spur such powerful growth. But our success goes beyond individual success stories and helps stimulate whole communities and economies. Natural gas and oil help explain why, in parts of America that hadn’t seen job growth for decades, you’ll now find a vibrant manufacturing base – people moving in, main streets busy again, businesses opening and hiring and more tax revenue for schools, police, public works, conservation and everything else that powers modern life.
But we can’t be that spark for growth without support from across the business community. In past years, the natural gas and oil industry – and frankly, the broader business community – has been under attack, and it is because of partners like you all that we have succeeded in staving off such attacks.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank you, and it is our hope in the months to years to come we can continue to build on these partnerships and lend our voice to issues that are impacting your own industries. We’re all in this together.
In that spirit, API sees itself as a vital Convener in the new energy landscape. Industry has played a critical role in Colorado and across the United States in reducing emissions, even while production has increased.
The industry is doing amazing things when it comes to innovation and technology, and we’ll share those stories far and wide during this critical election year. For example, at API, we proudly launched The Environmental Partnership two years ago to convene, share and design new methods for reducing methane emissions.
Seventy companies have joined the Partnership, including Extraction, HighPoint, Noble, Conoco, Occidental, Exxon, BP, Chevron and Williams – all with operations right here in Colorado.
Through The Environmental Partnership and other programs, the natural gas and oil industry pursues new technologies as part of its commitment to environmental stewardship while protecting public health and the environment.
Bold and achievable action on climate change at the global level is essential, and America’s natural gas and oil industry is committed to innovation and leadership to make these ambitions more than just hopes and dreams.
Our industry’s mission is society’s mission, and whenever we advance new technologies to reduce or capture carbon emissions, we bring together other industries looking to do the same.
Finally, we’re a proud champion of this industry, what it brings to the American economy – and what could be lost if some presidential candidates have their way.
To that end, API last week released an economic analysis of a ban on fracking and federal leasing – what that would mean for families and businesses across America. Coloradans and all American families should frankly be shocked to hear proposals from candidates for high office that would ban this technology everywhere and forever, which would erase a generation of American energy progress.
Thanks to fracking, America’s net foreign energy imports have plummeted, and the U.S. is today a net exporter of natural gas and oil for the first time in 70 years. Our study looked at the catastrophic impact of banning this American innovation and it shows:
- The U.S. could return to crippling dependence on foreign energy.
- American families may pay more as residential natural gas prices could spike over 50%.
- American farmers could see their income drop 43% as their costs could skyrocket.
- And GDP could fall $1.2 trillion, potentially triggering a recession in the U.S.
From carbon capture to reducing methane emissions, there are many ways to meet the world’s energy needs while lowering the world’s carbon footprint. It’s our mission to serve the growing demand for affordable energy and address the risks of climate change.
But I can tell you how we’re not going to get there: banning fracking, the technology that has kept costs low, provides millions of jobs, and reduces emissions in Colorado and across America.
I’ll state plainly that we don’t just work in the communities where we operate, but many of our employees live there too and it is always our goal to be the best neighbors we can be.Like America as a whole, Colorado and this industry find themselves at a defining moment – one where energy demands have never been higher, and the focus on a cleaner planet never greater. We’re 101 years old at API, and we’re eager to spend the next century catalyzing, convening, and championing a brighter future for all.
About The Author
Mike Sommers is the 15th chief executive of API since its founding nearly a century ago. Prior to coming to API, Mike led the American Investment Council, a trade association representing many of the nation’s leading private equity and growth capital firms and other business partners. He spent two decades in critical staff leadership positions in the U.S. House of Representatives and the White House, including chief of staff for then-House Speaker John Boehner. Mike is a native of Naperville, Illinois, and a graduate of the honors program at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Mike and Jill Sommers, a former commissioner at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, have three children and live in Alexandria, Virginia.
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