Letters to the Editor

Reopening the Gulf to energy production means more than 2,000 jobs in Colorado

Dear Editor,

With the economy struggling to crawl out of recession, our nation needs new jobs more than ever. We are in a fight for our future. Reopening the Gulf of Mexico to energy production is a tangible and meaningful step the Obama Administration can take right now to create thousands of high paying jobs, boost economic growth and increase our national security. The Gulf of Mexico accounts for roughly 30 percent of U.S. oil production and 11 percent of natural gas production. In the face of a stalled economy and political instability around the world, we cannot afford to shoot ourselves in the proverbial foot while these energy resources remain subjugated. We must act now.

In June 2010, the federal government instituted a moratorium on all deepwater drilling and all but halted shallow-water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Although the moratorium has been lifted, the federal government’s permitting for offshore operations remains idle. As a result it is no surprise that progress has stalled and there has been an 80 percent drop in the number of permits issued in the Gulf.

The Gulf Moratorium and permitting freeze has eliminated 20,000 jobs to date and threatens another 380,000 jobs nationwide. In Colorado, because of the severe declines in the supply of oil produced from the Gulf of Mexico, higher prices have made it increasingly difficult for already struggling consumers and businesses.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, oil production in the Gulf of Mexico would decline 130,000 barrels a day in 2011 and a by a further 190,000 barrels a day in 2012 without an end to the temporary moratorium and a return to historical patterns of permitting. This means the economic outlook for all Coloradans could remain bleak for the foreseeable future absent decisive action from the Obama Administration.

A return to previous permitting levels has the potential to produce hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions in revenue for the Gulf, for the entire country and right here in Colorado. A recent study by IHS-CERA and IHS Global Insight found that increasing the pace of permit approvals for oil and gas exploration in the Gulf of Mexico would create 23,000 new jobs in nearly every state in the country, bolster U.S. gross domestic product by $44 billion and generate nearly $12 billion in revenue to state and federal treasuries. This would mean more than 2,000 jobs in Colorado and more than $8 million in state tax revenue over the next three years.

Opening the Gulf would increase domestic oil production by more than 400,000 barrels per day, reduce U.S. spending on imported oil by $15 billion, and lower fuel and energy prices for consumers and small business.

From coast to coast, the Gulf of Mexico wields a significant influence in the lives of everyday consumers and workers. The development of the Gulf’s resources is vital in spurring economic growth as we continue our climb out of recession. This is true for Colorado and it is true for our nation.

As Americans, we have always been willing to work for our own prosperity and today is no different. The time is now. We must reopen the Gulf.

Learn more at www.OpentheGulf.org.

David Holt
President
Consumer Energy Alliance
Houston