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PESA hosted another member of Congress this week during a townhall discussion led by Advisory Board Member and Government Affairs Committee Chair, Todd Ennenga, Halliburton, and Tim Tarpley, PESA Vice President Government Affairs. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small (D-NM-2) discussed her legislative priorities related to the oil and gas industry and the COVID-19 crisis.
Rep. Torres Small said COVID-19 had a double negative effect in her state. The health crisis combined with low oil prices put New Mexico and other energy-producing states in a tough economic predicament. She said one priority during discussions with congressional colleagues throughout the debate of economic recovery strategies has been inclusion of the energy sector.
She highlighted several actions and letters sent to House leadership in support of oil and gas. These included joining a coalition with Democratic Reps. Henry Cuellar (D-TX-28), Lizzie Fletcher (D-TX-7), Collin Allred (D-TX-32) and Kendra Horn (D-OK-5) that introduced a bill designed to provide short-term relief to the industry by authorizing a Strategic Petroleum Reserve purchase in the phase four rescue package. Rep. Torres Small also supports federal funding for plugging orphaned wells to help create jobs and benefit the environment.
Ennenga asked the representative to comment on Vice President Biden’s energy platform. Rep. Torres Small said she has concerns and continues to work with the Oil & Gas House Caucus and the Biden campaign. She said it’s important “…to make sure that [America] moves forward” on issues of climate change and embraces all the players needed, including the OFS sector. Rep. Torres Small said oil and gas will be part of the solution in lowering carbon emissions and increasing efficiency.
Tarpley asked about limited liability protections, a key issue for PESA’s advocacy work. Rep. Torres Small hopes that protections will be included in upcoming legislation. She suggested that state Good Samaritan Laws, which immunize providers from liability when they care for patients in an emergency, could be analogous to protections for the energy industry. As essential workers, oil and gas employees are critical in providing energy for the country as it addresses and recovers from COVID-19.
On August 28, PESA hosts Rep. Kendra Horn (D-OK-5) for a townhall discussion. If you are interested in joining PESA’s Government Affairs Committee, please contact Vice President Government Affairs Tim Tarpley.