Drilling to reduce deficit is a bad business call

The Hill
November 10, 2017

Lost in the atten­tion focused upon Congress’s pas­sage of the Bud­get Res­o­lu­tion, which allows the Sen­ate to cir­cum­vent fil­i­buster rules while pass­ing tax reform leg­is­la­tion, is the fact that the very same pro­ce­dural device can, and likely will, be used to attempt to dra­mat­i­cally expand oil and gas explo­ration on our nation’s pub­lic lands.

The pro­vi­sion within the bill instructs the Sen­ate Energy and Nat­ural Resources Com­mit­tee to con­sider leg­is­la­tion this fis­cal year that would reduce the deficit by at least $1 bil­lion over the next 10 years. Two key Repub­li­cans in the Sen­ate — cur­rent Energy and Nat­ural Resources Chair­woman, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and James Inhofe of Okla­homa — have stated on the record that they want the com­mit­tee to con­sider open­ing pub­lic lands, both in Alaska and the con­ti­nen­tal United States, to drilling to achieve this objective.

This effort is tremen­dously short­sighted. America’s pub­lic lands are a national trea­sure, pro­vid­ing recre­ation and relax­ation to mil­lions of Amer­i­cans each year. As a ven­ture cap­i­tal­ist lead­ing a coali­tion of busi­ness lead­ers in the United States called the Con­ser­va­tion for Eco­nomic Growth Coali­tion (CEGC), we view these areas as a key eco­nomic dri­ver, attract­ing our nation’s most inno­v­a­tive com­pa­nies, who want to offer their employ­ees access to these his­toric areas. This line of think­ing might seem sur­pris­ing, but expe­ri­ence bares it out.

When a com­pany plans to locate to a new facil­ity, that deci­sion is based, in part, on the like­li­hood that it will be easy to recruit and main­tain a high-​​quality work force; one of the fac­tors in cal­cu­lat­ing that like­li­hood is prox­im­ity to the world-​​class recre­ational oppor­tu­ni­ties our national mon­u­ments can provide.

But you don’t have to take my word for it. Con­sider Amazon’s request for pro­pos­als for its sec­ond national head­quar­ters. Among the cri­te­ria the com­pany iden­ti­fies as a required for con­sid­er­a­tion is the avail­abil­ity of “recre­ational oppor­tu­ni­ties.” And Ama­zon is far from alone.

To read the full arti­cle, visit The Hill.