Last week the Energy Workforce & Technology Council held its largest annual Washington, DC Fly-In to date. Member Company representatives had the opportunity to meet with more than 30 Senators and Congressmen and hear perspectives from senior Biden Administration officials from four executive branch agencies. During one of the most significant weeks for the negotiations surrounding the Reconciliation bill, fly-in participants championed issues important to the energy sector directly with legislators.
The fly-in kicked off with an Executive Branch Panel discussion featuring Monica Gorman, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing, ITA, Department of Commerce; Steve Feldgus, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management, Department of Interior; and Timothy Eydelnant, Chief of Staff, Bureau of Energy Resources, Department of State, moderated by Council SVP Government Affairs Tim Tarpley. These senior Biden Administration officials discussed their respective agencies’ perspectives on the energy transition, current and pending regulations and how the energy services sector fits into the Biden Administration’s global energy policy.
Gorman pointed out that her team at the Department of Commerce were looking for opportunities to partner with companies developing technology to make the oil and natural gas supply chain cleaner and more efficient, and how U.S. industry can export clean energy technology overseas.
Feldgus explained the future of the Federal oil and gas program from the perspective of the Department of Interior. He acknowledged the significance of the ongoing moratorium on new Federal oil and gas leases, and echoed the Department of Interior Secretary Deb Haaland’s commitment to resume the leasing program.
Eydelnant discussed energy diplomacy and how the Department of State’s Bureau of Energy Resources was utilizing international partnerships to promote the energy transition.
Council Members then heard from Emily Grubert, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Carbon Management in the Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management at the Department of Energy in a discussion hosted by Council Director Government Affairs Deidre Kohlrus. Grubert gave an update on DOE’s initiatives in carbon capture and clean technology investments, and discussed how the Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon management could partner with the energy services sector and serve as a resource to support the energy transition.
Council Members then headed to Capitol Hill Club for the annual Producing States luncheon, where attendees had the opportunity to hear many different perspectives on the pressing issues facing the energy industry from Congressional members who represent areas with significant Council membership activity, including:
- Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)
- Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX-36)
- Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX-26)
- Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX-02)
- Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-TX-01)
- Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA-06)
- Rep. Kevin Hern (R-OK-01)
- Rep. Yvette Herrell (R-NM-02)
- Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK-02)
- Rep. Troy Nehls (R-TX-22)
- Rep. August Pfluger (R-TX-11)
- Rep. Pete Stauber (R-MN-08)
These 12 members of Congress gave their perspectives on the current political dynamics facing energy policy, including pending negotiations of the Reconciliation bill, infrastructure legislation and what might need to transpire to see these bills passed into law. Attendees took advantage of open question-and-answer sessions with each of the speakers to get their thoughts on issues like the energy transition and how the energy services sector fits into the current political environment in DC.
Following the lunch, Council Members met directly with members of Congress and their staff on issues from the energy transition to tax policy and regulations. In small groups, Council Members had the opportunity to build relationships with these offices, while advocating for specific policy issues and sharing first-hand experiences and ideas on how our sector can be part of a clean and resilient energy future. Attendees met directly with Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX-08), Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), Rep. Lizzie Fletcher (D-TX-07), Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ-04), Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND) and Sen. Cynthia Lummus (R-WY).
After an afternoon full of meetings, Council members headed to dinner where speakers Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA-03) gave passionate speeches on the importance of a robust domestic oil and natural gas industry and wrapped up the day with an encouraging message to Council Members.
The second day of programming began with a domestic energy outlook from Bob Moran, Senior Managing Director, Bob Moran Consulting. Moran’s candid analysis of the political trends in DC and across the country gave Member Companies a useful perspective and put many of the divisive policy issues into context. Nikos Tsafos, James R. Schlesinger Chair in Energy and Geopolitics with the Energy Security and Climate Change Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies gave an international policy outlook, discussing the state of the energy industry around the world, and how international energy demand and global shifts in policy can impact the domestic energy industry.
Following the domestic and international policy discussions Council Members returned to Capitol Hill for a second day of meetings with legislators, offering an opportunity to share issues and perspectives directly with some of the key advocates for the energy industry. These meetings included:
- Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
- Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH-06)
- Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO-06)
- Rep. Don Young (R-AK-AL)
- Rep. Henry Cuellar’s (D-TX-28) legislative team
- Rep. David Valadao (R-CA-21)
- Sen. Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) legislative team
- Rep. David Joyce, (R-OH-14)
- Rep. Fred Keller (R-PA-12)
The second day successfully wrapped with Council members delivering an impactful message in support of the energy services sector to legislators on Capitol Hill.
Council Members are continuing their outreach and advocacy efforts this week taking virtual meetings with members of Congress who were not available for in person meetings in DC.
If you are interested in the Council’s advocacy efforts or would like to join the Government Affairs Committee, contact SVP Government Affairs Tim Tarpley.
Deidre Kohlrus, Director Government Affairs, writes about industry-specific policies for the Energy Workforce & Technology Council. Click here to subscribe to the Council’s newsletter, which highlights sector-specific issues, best practices, Council activities and more.