AAPG member Skip Hobbs (standing) offers a “Petroleum Geology 101” course on oil reservoirs to U.S. Rep. Chris Shay (R-Conn.) in his follow-up meeting after the annual “Congressional Visits Days” event in Washington, D.C. “The congressman was truly interested,” Hobbs said, “and asked lots of questions.”
As a follow-up to my meeting in Washington, D.C., with U.S. Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn., during April’s “Congressional Visits Days,” I met with Shays again in May to give him a “Petroleum Geology 101” course on oil reservoirs. When we met in Washington, the congressman had asked about how oil forms, what are reservoirs like and what oil sands and oil shales look like.
After a constituent's meeting in New Canaan, Conn., Shays and I met to look at some of my conventional core and oil samples, and samples of Colorado oil shale and Utah tar sands.
The congressman was truly interested, and asked lots of questions.
Shays and Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y., have introduced a comprehensive, bipartisan bill called “The Energy for Our Future Act.” This bill will promote conservation and alternate energy sources, and reduce dependence on foreign oil.
During the public meeting, I commended the congressman for his initiative in proposing new energy legislation, but said that in addition to conservation and alternative energy that the necessary third “leg” of the energy policy must be access to lands in America that are likely to enable us to boost domestic oil and gas production, such as Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), the Rockies, Eastern Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic continental shelf.
I pointed out that ANWR could produce 1 MMBO/day for 20 years per U.S. Geological Survey estimates, and that would save $22 billion per year that we would not be paying to oil exporters that despise the American way of life (a number of people applauded).
Shays responded that he is prepared to consider increased access if the petroleum industry actively supports conservation and new energy technologies. He will not support access to ANWR until we improve conservation and make more progress on alternate energy technologies, but would consider supporting drilling to the Atlantic and Eastern Gulf.
He views ANWR as a future “strategic reserve,” and recommended more exploration in the areas of Alaska that already are open to exploration. He also said that the Canadian government have contacted him and asked him to support a treaty between the United States and Canada concerning preservation of the Arctic wildlife reserves that are contiguous in the U.S. and Canadian arctic.
After the public meeting I was accosted by an individual who was very much against the proposed offshore Broadwater LNG terminal in Long Island Sound. He asked me if I were a recreational boater, as the LNG facility would “ruin” recreational boating in Long Island Sound.
I assured him that I had sailed in Long Island Sound all my life and had no problem with the facility. In fact, I told him, the fishing just might improve with a major artificial reef formed by the LNG terminal. I suggested that he contact the recreational fishermen’s associations in the Gulf Coast.
As I reported after the Congressional Visits Day, Shays’ position represents a “crack in the door” in the anti-oil position of so many liberal congressional and senatorial officials. Constituents are complaining about high gasoline prices. Elected officials are beginning to consider increasing access and permitting new refineries and energy infrastructure.
Now is the time to talk to our officials at the local and national level about energy. Like Shays, they will listen. We encourage all AAPG members -- domestic and international -- to get more involved in energy policy deliberations.