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Q&A with Mike McDonald; Oilman says Republican Victories in Elections Will Help Industry

Jay F. Marks
NewsOK
November 11, 2010

Q: Republicans had quite a day in last week's elections. How do you expect that to impact the oil and natural gas industry?

A: For two years, the oil and natural gas industry has been under attack in Washington, D.C. Independent oil and natural gas producers have weathered attempts to repeal long-standing tax provisions for our industry, efforts to increase regulations on hydraulic fracturing and climate change legislation aimed at reducing the use of fossil fuels. You can be sure those attacks will intensify before the end of 2010, as some lame-duck lawmakers in the U.S. House and Senate push their anti-oil agenda with increased fervor during their final days in office. In 2011 and beyond, the change in power in the U.S. House of Representatives and an increased number of U.S. Senators in the minority means any energy-related legislation must be formulated with cooperation from both parties. Oklahoma's independent oil and gas producers, the mom-and-pop companies that are the backbone of our state's economy, can help provide the energy our state and nation needs, but lawmakers must support them in their efforts.

Q: Will the new dynamic in Washington lead to increased talk about natural gas as an alternative to coal and crude oil?

A: Natural gas can no longer be ignored by policymakers. The use of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing has opened vast new natural gas resources across the country, and we must take advantage of this American-made source of energy. Crude oil has and will continue to be the fuel of choice for our country's transportation needs, and the same technological advancements that have opened new natural gas fields have spurred increased crude oil production across the country. Our nation needs a balanced energy policy that supports the production of crude oil and natural gas. In Oklahoma, we should support all efforts to increase the use of both fuels, both as a transportation fuel and in power generation. Increased use of natural gas and crude oil will only benefit this state, where an increase in drilling activity provides our state much-needed jobs and offers our country energy security.

Q: What does the industry need from the government to flourish?

A: We need to be left alone. Without government interference, the oil and natural gas industry has increased production of both oil and natural gas and developed new techniques to extract fossil fuels from areas once thought unreachable. Without burdensome and unnecessary regulatory programs or crippling taxes leveled at the industry, oil and natural gas producers can develop new and better methods to extract oil and natural gas from the earth, enhancing U.S. energy security and helping our nation recover from a recession.