The political pandering to the “Super Committee” on deficit reduction has kicked into high gear, and it’s not surprising that the U.S. oil and natural gas industry is first on the hit list for some seeking to score easy political points. Some members of both the House and Senate recently sent letters to the committee asking to eliminate what they’ve falsely labeled as “oil subsidies for the five largest, most profitable private oil companies in the world.” But such misinformation campaigns are only a symptom of a much larger and more disturbing problem: the short-sighted nature of proposed “solutions” for the U.S. deficit.
No doubt much of the discussion about shale gas production has been focused on the United States, especially on the positive economic benefits associated with the industry – a story just this weekend, for example, detailed how new college programs and training courses are preparing students for careers in the growing natural gas industry. But the shale gas story is increasingly global, as are the benefits.
Right on the heels of recent misplaced criticism about how the oil and natural gas industry counts the jobs it helps support comes a report from NPR detailing the multiplier effect of the shale gas industry in Ohio and Pennsylvania. The story highlights the resurgence of the steel industry due to rising shale gas production – an example I mentioned in my blog post earlier this week. But it also delves into the jobs created because of greater investment in steel production.
A recent article questioning the employment created by oil and natural gas activities might come as a surprise to the 9.2 million Americans whose jobs are supported by our industry. The story, which made its way onto the front page of the Washington Post yesterday, raised questions about the validity of estimates coming from researchers and trade associations because those estimates include jobs that are created in supporting the work of the oil and gas industry – service station employees or steel suppliers who provide raw materials for industry projects are two examples. Last time I checked, a job is a job – and our country needs every one of them.