During the president’s Thursday speech on his new jobs proposal (which, as of yet, does not actually exist on paper), Rep. Jeff Landry, a Republican freshman from Louisiana, staged a bit of silent activism. Photos of the congressman show him holding a sign displaying a simply message: “Drilling = jobs”.
The point, of course, is that expanding domestic energy production through increased oil drilling – most notably in the Gulf of Mexico, on which the congressman’s district sits – would significantly boost employment.
Indeed, a study released on Wednesday by the energy research firm Wood Mackenzie estimated that increased production could create 1.4 million jobs and produce an additional $800 billion in federal revenue.
A failure to reform current policy towards domestic oil drilling, on the other hand, could have disastrous consequences for employment – especially in the Gulf region. A study by investment bank BER Capital Investments, also released Wednesday, warned that as many as 20 oil drilling rigs could leave the Gulf if the federal regulators’ rate of permit approval does not increase.
Landry prefaced his silent protest with this statement:
Our unemployment rate is the problem, and the solution is simple: drilling equals jobs. By allowing the hard-working people in the Gulf of Mexico to ply their trade, we can save 25,000 jobs. By allowing production in a small portion of ANWR, we can create 250,000 jobs. And by lifting the ban on new offshore drilling, we could create 1.2 million jobs. We must increase domestic energy exploration, expedite the permitting process, and remove the burecratic [sic] red-tape and barriers on job creators. Producing domestic energy will create jobs across the country, increase revenue to the federal government, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Mr. President, do the right thing: let us drill.
But alas, Landry’s message fell on deaf ears. The word “energy” earned nary a mention in the president’s speech, and increased domestic production will not be part of the president’s soon-to-be-unveiled American Jobs Act.