Last week, dozens of energy industry workers and their representatives from the Gulf coast came to Washington, D.C. to tell Congress that the Obama oil drilling moratorium was economically ruinous. Former Congressman John Peterson (R-PA) led a delegation of them to an American Spectator/Americans for Tax Reform luncheon. The visit was organized by the American Energy Alliance.
“My job matters,” Thomas Clement, co-owner of Oilfield CNC Machining in Broussard, Louisiana, said simply. He and other workers argued that the moratorium and proposed tax changes were threatening their livelihoods. Estimates as to how many jobs could be lost range from a low of 12,000 to a high of more than 200,000, with Gulf states bearing the brunt of it. The president of the Louisiana Oil & Gas Association has written that 17,500 jobs could be lost in Louisiana alone.
The smaller energy companies emphasized that they boasted an overwhelmingly safe track record and were being penalized for the sins of BP. One speaker at our luncheon noted that acting against BP specifically would have been a much more conservative approach than a six-month drilling moratorium for everyone. Peterson, who bemoaned the lack of a national energy policy, likened the Obama administration’s response to stopping all heart surgery because of the death of a single patient.