Simmons: It is time for elected officials to choose American-made energy
By Brook A. Simmons
The U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means hosted a field hearing in Oklahoma with the event shining a brighter light on the contrast between coastal and urban elites and middle Americans.
Those of us who live in the heartland have a better understanding of where the goods we use in our daily lives come from because our friends, neighbors, and family work in the oilfield and on the farm. Unfortunately, those who think hamburger meat comes from the grocery store, plywood comes from the hardware store, and a gallon of gas comes from the convenience store are now directing the government policies that impact the industries Americans rely on most.
With Petroleum Alliance Board of Directors member Joe Brevetti speaking on behalf of Oklahoma’s oil and natural gas industry, the 24 U.S. representatives on the committee heard first-hand how heavy-handed regulatory and tax policies hamper American energy supplies.
There are 4,000 oil and natural gas companies working in Oklahoma, and the work they do drives our state forward. The industry accounts for $64.9 billion, or roughly one-third, of Oklahoma’s gross domestic product, generates $2.5 billion in tax payments to the state, and accounts for $1 out of every $6 of household income.
But those 4,000 oil and natural gas companies have borne the brunt of changes to the nation’s regulatory and tax programs driven by the Biden administration’s whole-of-government approach to stop American oil and natural gas production. New rules from the EPA threaten to shutter marginally producing oil and gas wells. The EPA’s “Waters of the United States” rule expands the government’s control of private land over any piece of property with an ephemeral stream or water-holding low spot, all the way down to a ditch next to your driveway. The Fish and Wildlife Service is using the Endangered Species Act to make it more difficult to explore for and produce oil and natural gas even on private land. The Securities and Exchange Commission has made it more difficult for oil and natural gas producers to access the capital needed to drill more wells.
The result has been an industry slow to recover from pandemic-driven lows even though demand for oil and natural gas has surpassed pre-COVID levels. With American oil and natural gas supplies hampered by bureaucracy, our nation has turned to countries halfway around the world to fuel our nation. Our president begs OPEC for more oil one day and tells American energy producers to kick rocks the next.
Republicans and Democrats alike benefit from a healthy American oil and natural gas industry thanks to the abundant and affordable energy supplies it can provide. It is time for change. It is time for elected officials from both sides of the aisle to choose American-made energy.
— Brook A. Simmons is president of The Petroleum Alliance of Oklahoma.