On OCS Energy Development, the Manufacturing Perspective

By April 7, 2009Energy

The Department of Interior continues its series of public hearings on Outer Continental Shelf energy development tomorrow in New Orleans, Tulane University. Testifying from the manufacturing perspective will be Ginger Sawyer, director of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry’s Energy Council.

At the hearing Monday in Atlantic City, the NAM and manufacturing were represented by Jeff Uhlenburg, President of Donovan Heat Treating, based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Uhlenburg urged Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar to move ahead with the five-year management plan for OCS natural gas and oil. He also spoke of the direct impact energy policy has on his business and the manufacturing economy.

There is a direct link between plentiful domestic energy supplies and employment in the manufacturing sector. During the past 10 years I’ve seen my company go from a workforce of 37 employees to 10 employees, due primarily to higher energy costs. Prior to the onset of the financial crisis last year, the manufacturing sector lost more than 3.7 million high paying jobs between 2000, when energy prices began to spike, and mid-2008. We cannot afford to lose more jobs in this economy and we must capitalize on the sources we have at home.

The Atlantic Park Press has a lengthy report on yesterday’s hearing, “Shore governors push wind power; offshore drilling opposed.” As former Pennsylvania Congressman John Peterson pointed out, wind is an intermittent power source, so natural gas is necessary to power back-up generation when the wind isn’t blowing. And…

“This is old news, which every other country except the USA has solved,” said S.G. Warfield “Skip” Hobbs, a petroleum engineer from New Canaan, Conn. Renewable sources like wind, solar and geothermal energy supply just 1 percent of the nation’s needs and “as a practical matter, fossil fuels will rule for another generation,” Hobbs said.

The Hibernia and Terranova oil fields on the Grand Banks produce oil for Canada and “there has been no significant environmental impact in what is called Iceberg Alley,” Hobbs said.

Hearings are next week in Anchorage and San Francisco.

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