from an expert in the field:
brendan bradley is communications manager for the Independent
petroleum Association of America (
www.ipaa.org), a national trade
association representing oil and natural gas producers.
febRuARy debAte ReSuLtS:
Does wikiLeaks serve
the public interest?
offShore natUral GaS and oil production is indispensable to america’s
energy supply. with vast reserves available, this production creates revenue for
the federal and state governments, creates hundreds of thousands of jobs and
reduces dependency on foreign oil. these elements are crucial to america’s
energy and economic future.
But the men and women working in the industry make the best case for why offshore oil and
natural gas production is essential. and these might not be the folks you’re thinking of.
independent producers hold 81 percent of the producing leases in the Gulf of Mexico. these small
businesses, not large multinational companies, produce 30 percent of the Gulf’s oil and 60 percent of its
natural gas. in 2009, this production accounted for $38 billion in economic benefits, more than 200,000
jobs and $10 billion in federal and state royalties and revenue.
losing this production would have a devastating impact. recent delays in shallow-water production
have threatened more than 40,000 american jobs on the Gulf coast and $12.5 billion in income losses.
offshore natural gas and oil production means jobs and energy production; the nation cannot
afford to lose a fraction of either. Quite simply, this is a national security issue. is it in america’s best
interest to get its oil from military dictators overseas, from countries with no regard for the environ-
ment, or from here at home?
accountability and correction for the disastrous deep-water spill is a serious matter. this process
is underway, and ensuring deep-water safety requires more than a Band-aid fix. likewise, the question
of continuing offshore production should be better answered than with amputation. america deserves
better than overcorrection.
U.S. economic and energy viability is at stake, but this is not at odds with environmental responsi-
bility. the men and women working in the american offshore oil and natural gas industry stand by a
60-year record of reliability and safety in the Gulf’s shallow waters.
ensuring vital jobs and energy supply, offshore natural gas and oil production is an investment
in america’s potential and its people, allowing american ingenuity and labor to improve and grow
through mistakes and success. Such investments have often defined the United States and remain in
her best interest. C
percentage reflects votes
JAnuARy debAte ReSuLtS:
received by February 11, 2011.
Should internet openness
be ensured by regulation?
yeS: 39% no: 61%
from an expert in the field:
percentage reflects votes received by
January 31, 2011. results may reflect
Debate being picked up by blogs.
Peter Lehner is the executive director of the natural resources
defense council (
www.nrdc.org) and author of In Deep Water:
The Anatomy of a Disaster, the Fate of the Gulf, and How to End
Our Oil Addiction.
while we cannot prevent, absolutely, another oil spill, we can fix what’s
broken. we can put safeguards in place to greatly improve an industry currently putting profit above people. and we can move our country toward
cleaner, safer sources of energy.
Since the explosion in the Gulf of Mexico, an event that killed 11 men and put thousands of fish-ermen out of work, it’s become clear that the oil industry has very few guidelines to follow.
it’s also been revealed that the industry chose not to invest in developing better safety standards
on its own, having no pressure to do otherwise. over the past three years, the $289 billion industry
spent $39 billion on developing new wells, but it invested only about $20 million per year on
researching safety improvements, accident prevention and spill response—one-tenth of 1 percent of
industry profits. it’s no wonder they were so unprepared to deal with the Gulf spill.
let me be clear: there is nothing wrong with oil companies pursuing profits—that is what com-
panies are designed to do. But the industry should be just as good at protecting workers and the envi-
ronment as it is at finding oil and gas. it should be held to the same level of safety standards we
require of the nuclear and aviation industries. and if it won’t make those investments on its own,
then government should demand it.
we should also seize the opportunity to break our addiction to oil. the United States uses 800
million gallons of oil every single day. that’s simply not sustainable. instead of continuing to dig
ourselves into an ever deeper hole, we should embrace the new technologies that can free us from
our thirst for oil. we should be creating the next generation of energy-efficient cars and trucks;
we should be improving our public transit options and investing in high-speed rail; we should be
designing communities with sidewalks and biking lanes. all of this can be done right now with
existing technology. and it can cut our oil consumption in half over the coming decades, while
unleashing american innovation, putting millions of people back to work and laying the founda-
tion for global leadership in the clean-energy market. we just need to decide, as a nation, that we
want this freedom from oil. C
opinions expressed are those of the
individuals or organizations represented and
are presented to foster discussion.
Costco and The Costco Connection take no
position on any Debate topic.
MARCH 2011 The Costco Connection 21