OUR VIEW: Petroleum essential among US issues

It is difficult to predict what the next four-years hold with the re-election of Barack Obama as president, combined with a politically split Congress.

The immediate expectation among petroleum producers is that an unfriendly administration would offer a continued challenge.

Washington should heed the results of a Harris Interactive poll that found 73 percent of voters who participated in the Nov. 6 election favor increased domestic oil and natural gas development.

Nine out of 10 voters that identified themselves as Republicans support energy independence, with petroleum leading the way. The poll found 90 percent of Democrats and 94 percent of Independents said energy strategy should be a priority.

The Harris survey revealed that many people realize what they pay at the pump is impacted by taxes placed on the product. Sixty-eight percent of voters agreed that taxes on oil and gas companies not only hurt industry, but consumers as well.

During a post-election teleconference, American Petroleum Institute CEO Jack Gerard said that along with job creation and the economy, energy taxes and the Keystone pipeline are among the anticipated hot topics for the next Congressional session.

“Large majorities also want to see restrictions on offshore development lifted,” Gerard said. “Our industry is well positioned to continue fueling a strong recovery and producing the energy our nation needs.”

“Thank God, we have oil,” one among our numbers said the morning following Election Day. We agree.

We call on all persons of influence from the Louisiana delegation to Washington, to legislators in Baton Rouge, parish government officials, economic industrial agencies and the voting public itself to become involved in letting others know how vital oil and gas are not only to local interests, but national security.

We call on a lifting of drilling bans and increased offerings of permits.

We call on lawmakers to establish policies representative of a public that realizes how oil and gas impacts almost every aspect of their lives.

We’ll call for an opening of federal lands and offshore areas where untapped reserves are estimated to offer more than 2.3 trillion barrels of oil and 855 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

In turn, we call on the petroleum industry to continue developing safer and increasingly environmentally sound methods of producing both traditional and alternative energy sources. The industry should also offer leadership in designing and building infrastructures needed to handle both complimentary and substitute fuels.

The public has spoken about whom it will send to office. Citizens must now remember to tell elected officials what is expected.