Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) is challenging the American Petroleum Institute to defend its claim that unregulated drilling would lead to a million-job bonanza. The ranking member of the House Natural Resources Committee responded to recent API ads touting the promise of a “million jobs” if the oil industry gets to drill everywhere from the Arctic refuge to the Atlantic coast, and build tar sands pipelines from Canada to Texas like the Keystone XL project. Watch their ad:
API’s ads are based on a commissioned study by Wood Mackenzie that uses questionable methodology and unrealistic assumptions. Markey cited his office’s recent study that found from 2005 to 2010, Exxon, BP, Chevron, and Shell dumped 11,200 U.S. employees while raking in $546 billion in profits. With Big Oil’s record of destroying jobs even while drilling more, Markey asked why the future should be any different:
It appears the oil lobby got what they paid for: cooked numbers to justify their untenable policy positions. When the top five oil companies shed thousands of jobs over the last five years, and companies aren’t even taking advantage of most drilling opportunities offered to them, it seems to me creating a million jobs doesn’t even have a million-to-one chance of happening.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics said in their most recent career guide that “[n]ew drilling and extraction techniques allow for more efficient production from a reduced number of drill sites. As a result, employment in oil and gas extraction is expected to decline by 16 percent through 2018.” There were 161,600 people employed in oil and gas extraction in 2008 — that is expected to decline to less than 136,000 this decade.
“Solar energy has doubled its American jobs in the last two years, going from 50,000 jobs in 2009 to 100,000 jobs in 2010,” Markey writes. “Wind energy now employs 75,000 American workers.”
Markey asked for answers to his questions from API by Dec. 1.