The topic of oil is an old one that is becoming more popular in conversations in Congress and across the U.S. It is virtually impossible to read articles about the state of the economy and not hear about oil, jobs, energy, and North Dakota. Oil-producing states are featured in the news because of their positive growth in jobs and revenue. Through oil and energy production, states like North Dakota and Texas lead the nation in job creation and fiscal security.
When I first started learning about the potential of our nation’s oil revenue and job creation through oil production, I wanted to know more.
The natural gas and oil industry supplies more than 60 percent of our energy to fuel cars, heat our homes, and cook our food. With 2012′s elections fast approaching, the story of oil entrepreneurs’ success is growing.
The North Country and Oil
My Minnesota business has attracted many clients who were born in the neighboring state of North Dakota. They excitedly share their stories about the recent oil “boom” and its effect on their home state.
For example, because of the economic growth, the local grocery stores simply put out boxes of goods in the aisles, as customers are taking goods faster than shelves are being stocked. Likewise, with the increased demand for goods and services, my clients have shared that the average waiting period to check out at the local Wal-Mart is one hour!
North Dakota’s shale oil production increased employment 264% between 2005 and 2009. Williston, ND avoided the recession entirely with unemployment at less than 2 percent. The mayor estimates, in a September 2011 interview with NPR, that the population has grown from 12,000 to 20,000 in the last four years. The town also has 2,000-3,000 job openings right now. An average oil worker’s salary ranges from $60,000 to $80,000.
High Profit Perception
Progressives and the EPA make the oil and natural gas companies out to be bad guys, but what they fail to point out is that these resources generate more revenue for the federal government than any source other than income taxes. Harold Hamm, CEO of Continental Resources (the 14th-largest oil company in America) discovered the Bakken Oil Fields of Montana and North Dakota. These oil fields have already helped move the U.S. into third place among world oil producers. Mr. Hamm calculates that if Washington would allow more drilling permits for oil and natural gas on federal lands and federal waters, “I truly believe the federal government could over time raise $18 trillion in royalties.” That’s more than the U.S. national debt!
Old Exploration, New Technology
Drilling for oil is not a new endeavor, but by using new technologies, shale oil is now available throughout North Dakota, Texas, Louisiana, and Colorado in fields previously thought unreachable. Thanks to new shale oil innovations and methods that started in the 1990s, there are new ways to extract oil.
What is this new technology? The Shell Oil Company utilizes a process called “in situ” mining, which heats the shale while it’s still in the ground to the point where the oil leaches from the rock.
Free Market “Held to the Fire”
With North Dakota’s economy as “proof in the pudding,” it is clear that a free market system runs efficiently and benefits all parties. Many believe the term “free market” means no regulation at all. This is simply not true, as each state has laws that regulate drilling. North Dakota runs its energy production on a strong set of regulation laws that protect the environment, the workers, and the communities.
For example, in North Dakota, every crew and operation needs a well-written and carefully followed safety plan in place that details how the crew will prevent spills and take counter measures in case of an emergency. In cases of a spill, immediate cleanup, when safe, is the best practice.
Go here to retrieve the list of North Dakota Drilling regulations.
Given the success of growth in jobs and revenue in states with oil, isn’t it easy to see the potential for other states? I’m afraid it is not, as we’ve recently learned President Obama is demanding a raise on the taxes on oil and natural gas companies as a means of addressing the federal deficit.
The oil companies he wishes to tax drill 95% of our nation’s oil and natural gas wells and account for 67% of total domestic production of these resources. The price of goods for all Americans also goes up when the administration demands more taxes from businesses.
“[The oil] industry is not being used to its full potential. Much of the federal acreage in this country is off-limits to oil and natural gas exploration. Permitting, legal and regulatory delays have caused roadblocks to new oil and gas development. Protests and politics have delayed infrastructure projects such as pipelines that could put thousands to work.” –Ken Cohen, Exxon Mobile
If Obama’s administration is truly interested in reducing the budget deficit and creating jobs, they must recognize the important role independent producers play in fueling a short-term recovery and long-term revitalization of America’s struggling economy. Maybe the federal government should take lessons from North Dakota?
The small population of North Dakota has a budget surplus of $1 billion, while Minnesota is deep “in the red” with a $5 billion budget deficit! Washington, Inc. has favored green energy producers with an “unearned advantage” (think Solyndra) while turning down our nation’s bountiful homegrown energy resources.
The way out of this economic collapse is to clearly see the free-trade results from North Dakota. Conservative candidates at the Federal and State levels MUST make energy autonomy one of the cornerstones of their campaigns.
Energy autonomy goes far beyond independence. We MUST open up as much oil and gas exploration in the nation as the marketplace would like. Although it would be several years before actual production occurred in many locations, simply the threat of additional supply will drive the price of oil down.
Regulatory delays and high taxes have consequences that lead to higher energy prices and lost jobs. Come November, support and VOTE for candidates who will be unflinching in their commitment to Energy Autonomy for the United States! Places like Williston, N.D. give Americans hope for a REAL jobs plan.
By Kassandra Kuehl of American Citizens for Economic Freedom (http://truecapitalism.org/). We are the super PAC for the Tea Party and Women’s Organizations, founded by prominent business entrepreneur Peter M. Vessenes.
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