On Sept. 1, I
officially took on the new role of President & CEO of the Independent
Petroleum Association of America (IPAA). IPAA was founded nearly 95 years ago,
and in this tumultuous time, it’s my belief that the association’s efforts are
needed now, more than ever.
I’m honored to
have the opportunity to step up to the plate and go to bat for our industry.
I’ve worked in oil and natural gas for more than 25 years, including founding
IPAA’s Energy in Depth (EID), the industry’s rapid response, research and
communications coalition, in 2009. With my colleague, Dan Naatz, IPAA’s Chief
Operating Officer and Executive Vice President, I’m working closely
with the IPAA board to support a smooth and organized transition that
builds on our association’s efforts to advocate for independent producers in
Washington and provide member value through facilitating capital raising,
business development and educational opportunities.
What our industry provides is critical.
In this time of continuing uncertainty, one thing is certain: a healthy oil and
natural gas industry is good for America—bolstering the economy and national
security. Increased natural gas production also has benefited our environment,
by making America a leader in global emission reductions and providing the
nation with its cleanest air in 20 years. The United States’ dominance in oil
production has made us the envy of nations—reducing our reliance on foreign and
unstable countries while reducing our trade deficit and helping our world
allies. And our growing role in international natural gas markets has proven
important to global energy security.
But make no mistake—the industry and all its important
benefits are at risk. The Biden Administration’s attacks on American oil and
natural gas producers have been relentless. The President and the Democrat
leaders who control the House and Senate want to shackle our industry with new
taxes, increase regulations while limiting access for oil and gas development.
President Biden and his allies in Congress seem determined to stop the energy
renaissance that America has enjoyed over the last decade.
to production. Now, as
the United States and the world face an energy supply disruption brought on by
Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, the Biden Administration is imploring
America’s oil and gas producers to raise output. From Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm to
a whole host of other officials in the administration, the simple answer is for
our members to drill. Secretary Granholm’s response further shows how the Biden
Administration continues to play politics with American energy policy.
Exploring and producing oil and gas on federal, state and private lands is a
highly regulated and complex process.
The Secretary’s response ignores the fact that America’s independent
producers face enormous difficulties securing labor and supplies to commence
operations. Despite Secretary Granholm’s
efforts to have Americans look the other way, the Biden Administration’s
unrelenting attacks on our industry have had a detrimental impact on our
nation’s energy security.
attack American oil and gas producers, the Biden Administration should look at
the facts. According to the
Environmental Protection Agency’s 2021 Greenhouse Gas Inventory, U.S. methane
emissions continue a downward trend from 2005 levels. In fact, total U.S.
greenhouse gas emissions continue to decline despite increased production and
consumption of natural gas. Our industry is committed to reducing leaks and
improving pipeline infrastructure. Initiatives like The Environmental
Partnership bring companies together to discuss best practices, to improve the
industry’s environmental performance. American producers are taking the right
steps to produce energy more cleanly, safely and reliably.
The IPAA has
submitted extensive comments to the Interior Department, EPA, FERC and various
other federal regulatory agencies, outlining regulatory reform measures that
would help increase access to America’s oil and gas resources. There is a need
for enacting reasonable reforms to the “National Environmental Policy Act”
(NEPA) and to look for opportunities to delegate federal authority to state
regulatory agencies. It is clear the current program governing oil and natural
gas activities on federal lands is broken. Instead of working with IPAA and our
members, the Biden Administration seems committed to hindering safe, continued
development of America’s mineral resources.
What else can be
done to address these challenges? First, we must encourage capital investment and dial back
activist pressure to divest from oil and natural gas production. Second,
business thrives where there is a predictable landscape. Federal, state and
local government must streamline ordinances, so producers have a predictable
market in which to operate. Third, we must remove the hurdles for pipeline
projects and allow abundant natural gas supplies to reach customers in the
cleanest, most efficient method available. Fourth, regulators should develop
and greenlight new infrastructure projects to meet growing demand.
won’t immediately solve all the questions surrounding the world’s energy
challenges. However, they make for a good starting point. Now is the time to
protect our future in a holistic way that considers economic and national
security and environmental implications.
It is time for the
Biden Administration to look at American oil and natural gas as a partner in
efforts to address our nation’s energy challenges, not the enemy. IPAA members
understand we aren’t the only solution to questions surrounding American
energy, but we must be part of the conversation.
Our members have never faced such an arduous challenge from
politicians, the media and academia, and this next chapter will undeniably be
tough. The IPAA board and staff are proud to work on our members’ behalf, for
this industry and for our country. WO
was officially named IPAA President & CEO on Sept. 1, 2022. Previously,
he served as COO, overseeing the public affairs and communications,
administration, membership, IT and finance departments. In 2009, he
founded Energy in Depth, the industry’s rapid response,
research and communications coalition.