As a tumultuous 2019 winds down, United States citizens are bracing themselves for what is sure to be one of the most combative Presidential elections in history. Once the mud-slinging and name-calling have been set aside, it seems that the most significant issue being debated is the United States’ energy future.Continue reading
On Wednesday, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham drew a standing ovation when she announced a plan to fund tuition throughout the state. The laudable agenda is only possible thanks to the state’s booming oil and gas sector.
The Tuition Bill
In a nation where the cost of higher education is soaring commensurate with its necessity in the workplace, Gov. Lujan Grisham’s plan is commendable. According to Forbes, the price of college tuition is growing eight times faster than national wages. The cost of in-state tuition at public universities rose 4% last year alone.
To return the residents of her state to a time and place where it’s possible to graduate college with only minimal debt, Gov. Lujan Grisham’s plan would offer recent high school graduates free tuition to any public university, college, or community college to which they could gain admittance. Returning learners could even get in on the act with no-cost access to New Mexico’s two-year colleges.
Almost as soon as the governor finished her announcement, however, critics stood up to ask how the $30-plus million plan would be funded. Lujan Grisham’s office told reporters that the project would be partially funded by the state lottery as well as a smattering of federal grants, neither of which would cover the full cost. The remainder of the program’s funding would be decided in due course.
Oh, Wait, We Found It
Later that day, in an article praising the maneuver, The New York Times revealed that New Mexico had, indeed, found the remainder of the funding they needed the plan. The historically cash-poor state would fund its ambitious education plan using revenue from the state’s oil and gas industry.
One might wonder why the governor’s office was so coy about the source of the remainder of the education initiative’s funding. Then, one day later, Gov. Lujan Grisham happily soaked up the credit for being a hard-nosed environmentalist when she lectured the state’s industry leaders about the dangers of methane emissions and called for a 45 percent reduction in the state’s greenhouse gas emissions over the next decade.
Should she push this anti-energy strategy too quickly, she might find the funding for her plan drying up rather quickly. For the moment, as many as 58% of New Mexicans approve of the work being done by the new governor.
Finally, a victory everyone can agree on.
In early September, U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt announced more than $170 million in federal grants would be allocated to shore up the nation’s outdoor recreation areas and national parks. What’s more, the awards are set to come from the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a federal initiative funded entirely by offshore oil and gas leases.Continue reading
It’s a time of great flux in Colorado.
First-year governor Jared Polis has taken it upon himself to turn the state’s in-house energy proponent, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC), into a body focused on regulation, not support of the state’s oil and gas industry. In the vacuum created by the COGCC’s forced transformation, however, another group has stepped forward to assume the role of energy-industry champion.
Perhaps Governor Jared Polis thought he was ridding himself of opposition when he gutted the COGCC, but he didn’t count on the folks at the Colorado Oil and Gas Organization (COGA) picking up the fight.
A Friend Among Tradespeople
Since they were founded in 1984, the people of COGA have pursued the environmentally-responsible development of Colorado’s oil and gas reserves with quiet determination. While the COGCC gave quotes to the press, COGA stuck to trade professionals, accruing a membership of hundreds of companies filled with like-minded employees.
The guiding philosophy behind COGA was (and still is) the quiet support of the thousands of men and women supported by the state’s oil and gas industry. That work was made more complicated in the wake of the drastic changes overtaking the COGCC.
Marching Forward in a New Colorado
At COGA’s recent Energy Summit, Haley invited Governor Polis to speak at a forum entitled, “Can You Still Drill for Oil in a Blue State?” It’s a pressing question in a state where oil and gas employees are in fear for their economic well-being. Though he accepted the invitation and showed up to the event, Polis still dismissed the entire topic of the conversation as “silly.”
Over the next hour, Haley tried calmly to explain COGA’s concern for the state’s energy future, even as the governor repeatedly scoffed at those fears.
Taking the Reigns
Throughout 2019, CEO and president of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, Dan Haley, has become a fixture in the headlines. In just a few short months, he’s gone from the head of a benevolent trade organization to the de facto voice of Colorado’s oil and gas industry and, by extension, thousands of people who work in oil and gas each day.
When Adams County enacted new regulations in the last week, it was COGA and Dan Haley who stepped forward to call out the harsh rules for what they were: a ban on oil and gas development.
It was just the latest of a growing number of moments when a COGA rep has stepped up to speak out for the people on the ground in Colorado.
In recent weeks, a handful of timid investors have stirred up controversy in the oil markets by suggesting that the international price of oil was due to crash in the coming months. That prediction may prove true for some countries in the coming months, but the strength of the United States’ production power shows no signs of letting up or crashing down.Continue reading