As The Associated Press reports:
An ad campaign by the oil and gas industry attacking “job-killing rules” proposed by Colorado regulators is drawing its own share of attacks.
Two trade groups bought ads in Colorado newspapers this week warning of a “looming threat to Colorado’s economy” from a proposed overhaul of the state’s oil and gas regulations.
The Colorado Oil and Gas Association and the Colorado Petroleum Association also have bought time on radio stations to make their case, saying the new rules would threaten the livelihood of more than 71,000 people who “go to work at good-paying jobs with benefits in Colorado’s oil and gas industry.”
The ads are a lead-in to weeklong hearings on the proposed regulations starting Monday in Denver. The rules would put in place laws requiring that more weight be given to public health, wildlife and the environment when approving oil and gas development…
…The figure of 71,000 oil and gas jobs comes from a 2007 state- funded study that also said the industry contributed nearly $23 billion in direct and indirect economic benefits in Colorado in 2005. The figure has been cited by industry officials, legislators and even Gov. Bill Ritter, whose “controversial political appointees” are criticized in the industry’s ads.
But state labor statistics for April list 27,700 jobs in natural resources and mining, which include the oil and gas industry.
The 70,779 jobs in the Colorado Energy Research Institute report include direct and indirect jobs as well as industries affected by oil and gas development.
“I think our economists would take some exception to how far that net is cast,” said Bill Thoennes, spokesman for the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment…
…the number of oil and gas jobs and earnings are eclipsed by government, professional and technical services, health care and other industries, said Pete Morton, an economist with The Wilderness Society in Denver.
He said it’s inaccurate to say that jobs in such industries as wholesale, real estate, management, government, food service that might benefit from energy development are in the oil and gas industry. “None of those people would say they work in the oil and gas industry,” Morton said.
Furthermore, using numbers from the U.S. Department of Commerce Bureau of Economic Analysis, Morton estimated that most of the $23 billion in economic benefits from oil and gas development in 2005 flowed out of state.
We’ve said here before that oil & gas industry claims that regulations would cripple them and hurt the state was just a huge bluff. Oil and gas is a finite resource – you can only drill for it where it exists. The oil and gas industry isn’t like a big manufacturing company that could pull up stakes and move its operation to another state.
But the big whopper could be that last line in the story: “…most of the $23 billion in economic benefits from oil and gas development in 2005 flowed out of state.” It’s hard to feel sorry for oil & gas companies anyway, but it’s darn near impossible when most of the money they make flows right out of the state they use to make it.