WASHINGTON - This week, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform questioned the Obama administration on its classification of “green jobs.” According to testimony from Bureau of Labor Statistics Acting Commissioner John Galvin, jobs including school bus drivers to bike repair shop clerks and janitors at solar facilities are all considered to be “green jobs.” Interestingly – considering that the White House has touted “green job” creation as part of the path away from oil and gas development – the Administration’s definition of “green jobs” also included oil lobbyists working on environmental issues.
So if the administration counts those in the oil and natural gas industry who work every day to protect our environment as “green jobs,” then why is it simultaneously working to impose redundant and suffocating regulations on an industry that is – by the White House’s own definition – green?
The safe and responsible development of America’s vast oil and natural gas resources has been an engine of job creation from the well pad to the refinery, and the industry has also been implementing numerous new procedures and standards to protect the environment. According to the World Economic Forum, the oil and natural gas sector was responsible for creating nearly one in every ten new U.S. jobs in 2011. President Obama, in his most recent State of the Union address, acknowledged that America’s natural gas industry is well on its way toward creating 600,000 new jobs. As noted by The Economist, the economic impact has been truly “astonishing”:
“America’s gas boom confers a huge economic advantage. It has created hundreds of thousands of jobs, directly and indirectly. And it has rejuvenated several industries, including petrochemicals, where ethane produced from natural gas is a feedstock. … This is astonishing.” (The Economist, 6/2/12)
As the Houston Chronicle reports:
“It seems clear to us that the energy industry is positioning itself to lead the United States out of economic quagmire and into a new era of prosperity built on the wise use of abundant domestic fuel resources. The industry deserves support for this bold approach, not the political pillorying it regularly receives.” (Houston Chronicle, Editorial, 6/5/12)
As oil and natural gas production sweeps the nation, thousands of jobs have been created in its wake. As former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell noted in the Philadelphia Inquirer:
“This influx of jobs and investment spurred an unprecedented economic boom for our state and, thanks to a resource found right here in Pennsylvania, this economic revitalization continues. Cheap, clean, and abundant energy is available to heat our homes, fuel our cars and trucks, and power our state’s economy. It’s not a campaign slogan, it’s reality. … While improved air quality and savings at the pump are key advantages of natural-gas vehicles (NGVs), the most critical benefit is our increased economic, energy, and national security…there is a misunderstanding that residents must make a choice between protecting the environment and ensuring the dependable production of sufficient energy for power generation and transportation.” (Philadelphia Inquirer Op-Ed, 6/3/12)
With this record of job creation, it’s little wonder why the White House wants to define jobs in the oil and natural gas industry as “green jobs” – even if everyone knows that these jobs are not the result of the administration’s policies, but rather thanks to the hardworking men and women who make up America’s independent oil and natural gas producers.
Here’s more from around the nation:
Gas revolution can do the environment more good than harm. The story of America’s shale-gas revolution offers hope in hard times. … America’s shale-gas industry has since drilled 20,000 wells, created hundreds of thousands of jobs, directly and indirectly, and provided lots of cheap gas. This is a huge advantage to American industry and a relief to those who fret about American energy security. (The Economist, 6/2/12)
Study finds HF emissions much lower than EPA estimates. The American Petroleum Institute and America’s Natural Gas Alliance found methane emissions to be 50 percent lower than the EPA estimated when it issued the first federal clean air standards for hydraulic fracturing in April. (The Oklahoman, 6/5/12)
Marcellus Shale Creating Blue-Collar Union Jobs in Western Pa. Two skilled laborers toil around an automated pipe-cutting machine at Chapman Corp.’s new $6.6 million pipe fabrication shop, using laser precision technology that cuts the man-hours for a job from a full day to a half-hour. Nearby a custom-built “shake and bake” paint room allows the company to reduce the time it takes to paint pipelines for the Marcellus Shale natural gas industry from two days to eight hours or less, said Ron Delsandro, shop coordinator. “We can get that order out a day sooner,” Delsandro said Friday when the Washington-based company held an open house for the new shop, which is as long as two football fields. That’s how much of a demand there to meet the pipeline needs of the gas and oil industry, which is booming across Washington and Greene counties. (Washington Observer-Reporter, 6/1/12)
Energy sector is once again booming in Texas. The industry has enjoyed significant growth the past several years based on technological improvements, which have both increased total recoverable amounts and improved economies. (San Antonio Business Journal, 6/7/12)
Fayetteville Shale generates nearly $13 billion in investment, thousands of new jobs. The Fayetteville Shale natural gas play in north-central Arkansas generated more than $12.8 billion in investment from 2008 to 2011, 29 percent more than was planned in 2008, according to a study released Tuesday by the University of Arkansas… From 2008 to 2011, employment affects grew from more than 14,500 people to more than 22,000 people. (Arkansas Business News, 6/5/2012)