In anticipation of the Senate vote on S. 3711, the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act, we refer you to the experience of Jay Bender, an NAM board member and one of the owners of Falcon Manufacturing in Brookings, S.D.
For the first time in a decade, Bender says, he has been forced to raise the price of the plastic components his plant molds into parts for such things as electronic scoreboards, medical equipment and printer cartridges. The cost of the raw plastic pellets has doubled in the past two years because those pellets are made of natural gas and oil. Heating the warehouses by gas, Bender says, “costs two or three times what it did three years ago.”
Jay’s observations were included in this Associated Press story on legislation to open up 8.3 million acres of the Gulf to oil and natural gas exploration. For additional perspective, AP also turned to NAM board member Tony Raimondo, chairman and CEO of Behlen Mfg. Co., of Columbus, Neb. “At his four metal fabricating plants, Raimondo’s annual cost for natural gas has gone from $530,000 in 2000 to nearly $1.3 million – an expense that is hurting his business,” AP reported.
Jay and Tony’s stories are repeated thousands of times across the entire U.S. manufacturing economy, as higher energy prices discourage economic growth and investment. Kudos to the AP for offering readers a view into the serious real-world consequences of preventing Americans from accessing domestic supplies of oil and natural gas. As the chief sponsor of S. 3711, Sen. Pete Domenici, notes: “It is their property. We ought to develop it and do it now.”