Today, the House Agriculture Committee held a hearing to examine the oil and gas industry’s impact on rural America. While the committee focuses primarily on the economic impacts of agriculture, many rural communities that depend upon agriculture also rely upon the economic activity generated by energy production. Today’s hearing allowed committee Members to focus on upstream oil and gas production and the associated economic effects. Members heard from a panel of witnesses whose rural communities and livelihoods are directly impacted by oil and gas production.
“This committee is responsible for all of rural America, and the oil and gas industry is part of that as it directly impacts rural communities and the livelihoods of those residents. In west Texas and across the country, the oil and gas sector plays a major role in providing a significant number of good paying jobs for Americans. These jobs give rural America the ability to retain young people with new opportunities, attract new residents, and increase the standard of living for all people of the community. Just like the farm economy, oil and gas is on the downturn and as a committee it is essential we recognize the hard times our rural economy is facing and explore all policy options available to mitigate the economic damage to rural America,” said Chairman K. Michael Conaway.
Written testimony provided by the witnesses from today’s hearing is linked below. Click here for more information, including Chairman Conaway's opening statement and the archived webcast.
The Honorable Martin T. Causer, Majority Chairman, Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, Pennsylvania House of Representatives, Harrisburg, PA
Ms. Jackie Root, President, National Association of Royalty Owners – Pennsylvania Chapter, Lawrenceville, PA, on behalf of the National Association of Royalty Owners
Ms. Angie Sims, CEO, Buster’s Well Service, Inc., Kermit, TX, testifying on behalf of the Association of Energy Service Companies
Opening Statement by Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin C. Peterson
Energy and the Rural Economy: The Impacts of Oil and Gas Production
–As Prepared for Delivery–
“Thank you Mr. Chairman.
“Oil and gas production can have a positive impact on the rural economy. My state of Minnesota for example has felt the impact of North Dakota’s oil boom, including increased job opportunities in my district.
“At the same time, the market has recently exposed some of the challenges that come along with oil and gas production. Improving infrastructure like rail, pipelines or roads to transport oil during boom times or strengthening safety net programs that can keep our rural communities afloat during low price swings, are all areas for us to further explore.
“Oil and gas development has certainly helped some farmers and rural communities weather the recent downfall in commodity prices. This demonstrates the importance of a diverse rural economy and the role these types of value-added systems play in keeping it afloat.
“Agriculture is no stranger to fluctuating commodity prices and we’ve all witnessed the impact of extreme highs and lows. When commodity prices drop, rural communities, landowners, farmers and business all feel the impact. This is why it is important that we maintain a strong safety net and support a wide range of opportunities for rural citizens.
“I look forward to hearing our witnesses’ thoughts on this topic and yield back.”
Source: House Committee on Agriculture