Natural Resources Committee Hearing #3 – Industry Lies

February 25, 2009 – WASHINGTON ā€”

Executives of the biggest oil companies sought to convince lawmakers Wednesday that expanded offshore drilling will produce jobs and help the nation’s economy, although new leases in areas that have been off limits would not be issued for years.

“We can help put America on the road to economic recovery,” said Larry Nichols, chairman of Devon Energy Corp., as the executives testified before the House Natural Resources Committee.

Marvin Odum, president of Shell Oil Co., warned against being “lulled again into complacency” because of low oil prices. He said access to oil and natural gas off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts will help meet future energy challenges.

“Producing more of our offshore energy will create jobs and fuel economic recovery,” said Odum. An executive from ExxonMobil Corp., estimated 76,000 jobs would be created from new drilling in areas that until recently have been under a congressional drilling ban.

And the executives said states and the federal government would reap billions of dollars in new royalties and fees.

But the companies also stand to make billions of dollars from expanded offshore oil and gas development. ExxonMobil Corp. and Chevron Corp., which also was represented at the hearing, combined made $69 billion last year.

However, Marvin Odum, president of Shell Oil Co., said advanced drilling technology allows companies to search for oil and gas without harming the environment.

“We can drill safely and efficiently with an ever-decreasing environmental footprint,” he said. “The choice is clear. We can continue to import increasing volumes of oil and gas, or we can develop more of our own domestic resources.”

Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., the committee’s chairman, said he was not against expanded offshore oil drilling but that “the American people deserve to understand the risks and benefits … that offshore drilling will bring.”

The Interior Department has estimated that waters off the Atlantic and Pacific coast and in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, which for a quarter century were off limits, contain about 18 billion barrels of oil.

That “is a drop in the bucket of what we will need to sustain our economy and meet our energy needs,” said Rahall, adding that automobile fuel efficiency improvements required by Congress a year ago will save twice as much oil as could be produced from previously off limits waters.

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One Response to “Natural Resources Committee Hearing #3 – Industry Lies”

  1. Mike Says:

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