On March 31, 2010 President Obama acted to lift the ban on the exploration of offshore oil and gas and raised the possibility of the development of those resources off the east coast and in the eastern Gulf. Since that time many of the Washington pundits have sought to understand the importance of this action and to define what we in the energy business need to learn from this policy statement. Many of you will recall that nearly a month ago we shared that the administration would be taking action to support the development of off-shore energy resources.
From our perspective, the lessons to be learned are pretty clear. First we should understand that the President, although clearly recognizing our energy interdependence, is firmly committed to moving this nation toward greater energy independence in the areas of oil and gas. The President is also clear that this nation and this world will need to look to the fossil fuels for the majority of energy needs for many, many years to come. He is working both a near term strategy, a mid-term strategy, and a long term strategy; seeking the development of alternative fuels, insuring a sufficient supply of traditional fuels, and encouraging the research and technology needed for the development of a sustainable, diverse, clean energy portfolio.
The second thing that we should learn is that the President is willing to do what it takes to get climate change legislation passed. He said that he would reach out to the other party to have bipartisan support for an energy/climate change bill. By opening up off shore drilling, he has invited the members of the loyal opposition to join in the development of a new energy bill for the Nation.
This seems to have worked, and we are expecting to have a new, bipartisan bill introduced before the end of this month. If and when this new bill is available, I would strongly recommend that every AABE member who is interested in having a say in this most important legislation read as much of it as you can and share any thoughts, concerns, ideas, perceptions, or desires with each other, the Legislative and Public Policy Committee, and your Congressional representatives. The AABE has always aspired to be an energy policy voice for the minority communities. This is our best chance to fulfill that aspiration and ensure that our communities aren’t negatively impacted by national energy policy.
In about a month, the 33rd National Conference “People. Profit. Planet. An Inclusive Approach to a Bright Reliable Energy Future” will be in Columbus, Ohio. With climate change legislation on the horizon, this year’s “Legislative Crossfire” will be full of thought provoking ideas and robust discussion. Nationally recognized experts will be in attendance and eager to hear your thoughts on this legislation, legislation that will govern our industry and much of our nation for many years to come. It is time for AABE to step up to the plate.
The “Legislative Crossfire” session will not be the only event that should grab your attention. Every hour of every day will be filled with discussions of subjects, and issues and opportunities that these dynamic shifts in the energy industry are bringing forward. If you want to understand a bit more about the “Smart Grid”, about “Green Technologies”, about climate Change , about how these developments will impact your company, your job, your community then mark your calendar for May 19-21, 2010. This will be a conference not to be missed.
On March 22, the College of Engineering at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University honored the American Association of Blacks in Energy in a dinner ceremony in Greensboro. The award reads in part “In recognition of your world-class leadership in promoting and celebrating the achievements of Black Energy Professionals and for your continued efforts and contributions…” I want to let the AABE membership know just how grateful I am for the incredible growth in our organization’s reputation and stature which has come as a result of the myriad actions undertaken by our individual members to share AABE’s mission and message and with their associates and others in this broad and diverse industry. Thank you. Across this country and around the world, this association is known and respected for the abilities and capabilities of its outstanding membership. More and more, others are looking to AABE for its leadership and its guidance. “For everyone to whom much is given, of him shall much be required.” (Luke 12:48)
We can do this!