Is Cory Gardner's office at Shell Oil or Do Shell Lobbyists Just Write His Speeches?
Cory Gardner (a wholly owned subsidiary of Shell Oil) is about to introduce his Jobs and Energy Permitting Act and he is excited about it. As I've mentioned, I wonder if Gardner knows where his district is, since he is a representative of Colorado and seems to be more concerned with jobs in Alaska. But I'd like to take a closer look at those jobs estimates.
The first number he offered was in the Denver Post piece that first mentioned this bill: "His office estimates 40,000 to 50,000 jobs created — 35,000 in Alaska and 20,000 in the lower 48." Then in his remarks at the subcommittee hearing he offered: "Some estimates have suggested that developing in the OCS has the potential to create over 50,000 jobs annually..." That's a lot of jobs, but if you are like me, you might wonder how his office came up with these numbers.
Easy: apparently Cory Gardner's office is just a satellite office for Shell Oil. You see, in March, 2009 Shell drafted a study: "Economic Analysis of Future Offshore Oil and Gas Development: Beaufort Sea, Chukchi Sea, and North Aleutian Basin," made conveniently available on their website. This document's primary purpose is to convince the state and local governments to support Shell Oil's offshore drilling in Alaska. It's one giant, number-filled, sales brochure now being held up as official Congressional office data.
Cory Gardner's office, I mean Shell, estimates that on average over the next 50 years, these drilling sites would create 35,000 in Alaska. Further, Shell thinks it could potentially create over 50,000 jobs at peak employment in 2038. So far, it looks like Gardner has just been reading off a Shell Oil-supplied script. The only place there is disagreement is in Shell's estimate for employment outside of Alaska: 2,000 (See page ES-11). When Shell's rosy, sales-pitch estimates are too low, Gardner just makes up his own numbers so it sounds like he cares about making jobs for Coloradans.What else do we find when we look at the numbers?
First, it's interesting to look at which sectors will be creating these jobs. In the chart to the right, Shell breaks down the employment expected to be created. The estimate Gardner is using includes 4,000 government employees. He has constantly railed against public spending and employment, but now he is touting these jobs' potential creation.
Further, of the 35,000 jobs in Alaska, only an average of 6,000 would be direct oil and gas jobs, and only 3,900 could be high-paying, year-round jobs.
Seasonal and short-term job opportunities include those associated with oil spill response operations, equipment operations, construction of support facilities, marine mammal observer program, camp support, seismic survey, etc. The number of persons that might be employed for short-term or seasonal jobs could be greater than the number of year-round jobs. (page ES-9)
So, he's touting a lot of government jobs and part time work. Only a select few would get decent, year-round jobs. It sounds like the only people that really benefit from all this, long-term are the heads of Shell Oil and their Cory Gardner subsidiary.
He's lying about the jobs. These estimates come from the imaginations of a Shell Oil pitchman and were put in front of Gardner by some lobbyist. Why do taxpayers even pay for his staff, when they have corporations do work for them? I don't know.
Since there are no jobs, can we at least expect this to impact rising oil prices? That's a whole other can of worms that deserves its own post, but I'll give you a hint: of the three sites studied by Gardner's staff, I mean Shell Oil, the earliest any oil would be produced will be in the year 2018 (and that's probably too early an estimate at this point) and in the other two sites, the first oil is more than ten years away.
Cory Gardner needs to start focusing on what the 4th District of Colorado needs, not what Shell Oil and Alaska need. Do I need to refer Cory Gardner to my map of where his constituents are again?