VOLUME 32, ISSUE 4
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20 Congressmen Who Voted Against Energy Jobs
By David Freddoso
If not for the current boom in oil and gas exploration, the U.S. could be in the middle of a second Great Depression. Fortunately, the industry is probably enjoying its greatest influence in the West, as well as Texas and North Dakota.
But the members of Congress who represent large oil and gas communities are not necessarily all friendly to the cause.
The Western Energy Alliance has compiled a list of congressmen and senators who have voted against industry priorities to show which ones represent significant numbers of oil and gas workers and suppliers.
The data, part of an analysis by John Dunham and Associates, also includes dollar amounts for the wages and economic production the industry adds to these members' home districts and states.
The accompanying graphic shows select members of Congress, mostly in western states -- who have opposed the oil and gas industry in votes on the Keystone XL pipeline and against blocking new greenhouse gas regulations imposed by the Obama administration.
The pipeline would allow faster, cheaper and safer shipment of crude oil than rail currently permits. It would also facilitate exports, which the federal government is increasingly allowing on a case-by-case basis.
Rep. Ben Lujan, D-N.M., for example, represents more than 5,135 constituents who work directly within the oil and gas industry, in addition to 2,123 who work for companies that
Votes by John Carney (D-DEL.) cost Delaware 266 jobs paying $19,269,800 with $76,647,000 economic output.
supply it. A further 1,894 workers are estimated to have other jobs in Lujan's district, thanks to the industry's presence — this is also known as “induced” jobs, a measurement of jobs created to meet the economic demand of the industry's and suppliers' wage-earners. Taken together, these 9,152 workers make $629 million in wages and produce $3.5 billion in economic output.
Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., is an avowed enemy of the unconventional oil and gas industry. Polis, who lives in Weld County and represents neighboring Boulder, is bankrolling two ballot initiatives that would sharply cut back on hydraulic fracturing within his state — much to the horror of his party bosses.
But Polis' district is also home to about 3,300 workers for oil and gas industry suppliers. Between direct, indirect and induced jobs, the industry brings $438 million in wages and $1.5 billion in economic output to the Polis district. Other members with large oil-and-gas constituencies who opposed the industry on these two measures include Reps. Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo., and Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-N.M. (who is Ben Lujan's cousin).
With the possible exception of Lujan Grisham, all of these House Democrats are in relatively safe seats. The same cannot be said for Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., who represents the entire state of Colorado. The Centennial State, where Udall is in a dogfight for re-election against Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., has $22 billion in economic output from oil and gas in his state -- including $16 billion directly from producers, who pay $2.7 billion in wages to their 21,058 Colorado employees.
An additional 20,373 Coloradans work for industry suppliers. Udall voted both against Keystone XL and in favor of the greenhouse regulations. His junior colleague in the Senate, Michael Bennet, D-Colo., voted for Keystone. One might think the oil and gas industry is limited to states where fracking is done, but in fact through its suppliers it has a larger footprint that extends into states such as New York and Illinois.
In California, both of whose senators voted against Keystone and in favor of the greenhouse regulations, more than 4,500 people work for the industry's suppliers, earning good wages at $459 million per year and adding nearly $1.8 billion in production to the state's economy. ■
This column, reproduced with the author's permission, was originally published in the Washington Examiner on July 29, 2014 David Freddoso, Columnist for the Washington Examiner.
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