Dave Galt - September 20, 2012
Montana Petroleum Association
Coal, Oil and Natural Gas
The morning alarm screams, the clock reads 6 am, this day begins just like any other weekday. Lights come on, you bump up the thermostat, and the coffee maker does its job filling the house with its wonderful aroma. A nice hot shower, then a little breakfast, and youíre ready to hop in the car to drive to work, and maybe, a quick stop to see the angels of morning and have them whip up a latte. Sounds like a normal morning for millions of Americans.
Besides the fact that we are going to work, there is a something going on behind the scenes that we really donít think about. Every flick of the switch that makes our day is powered by energy. Electricity powers your alarm clock and Mr. Coffee. Natural gas warms the house and heats the water for the shower. Gasoline or diesel powers the car or bus for your ride to work. Even the angels need a little power to make your latte.
Face it, the power we use for every facet of our lives is generated from coal, oil and natural gas. Sure a tiny bit comes from other sources, but without the coal, oil and natural gas our mornings would be even less fun than they are now, not to mention every facet of our lives.
In Montana, and across America, energy powers our economy. The University of Montanaís Bureau of Business and Economic Research says energy represents 14% of the state economy; however energy makes the rest of it work. Oil and gas comprise much of the energy development in Montana.
A recent analysis by the Applied Center for Economic Research at MSU-Billings shows that this industry provides direct jobs to 7,500 Montanans and supports another 12,500 jobs for a total economic impact of $10.5 billion dollars.
We hear a lot about the need to having living wage jobs. The average annual wage in Montana is $32,300, while the oil and gas industry average is $56,581: 75% above the state average.
Firms representing the oil and gas industry make up: 1.2% of Montana workers, 2.1% of total employee compensation, 12% of Montanaís total output, 59% of Montanaís total manufacturing output (thatís right 59%).
In Yellowstone County alone oil and gas represent 3.4% of the total employment in the county and we pay over $248 million in wages. When you add the jobs supported by our industry, that figure grows to 10 % of county-wide employment.
Because my job is to support and grow this industry, I donít mind listening to the alarm clock at six in the morning. The next time you hear someone say we should not be drilling here or there, ask them why not. Ask them what alternatives they have and if they are viable. Donít be afraid to send a letter to the editor of your local paper in support of heat, light and good paying jobs. In a few short weeks you will be electing people to run our government, from Washington, D.C. to Helena, to your local representative and county commissioner. Please ask them what they believe we need to do in Montana to develop our natural resources and make sure they give you an answer with real facts. Make sure they sound like they truly believe we should be using our natural resources to enhance our lives, fund our schools, and give people living wage jobs.
If you care to read more about our industry, please visit www.montanapetroleum.org where you can get an online copy of the 2012 Treasure State Journal.
Representing 20,000 Montanans working hard to develop the Treasure Stateís natural resources, I am Dave Galt, Executive Director, of the Montana Petroleum Association.