WASHINGTON, May 8, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In a landmark gathering near Detroit on Friday, May 10 an unlikely alliance of unions, the energy industry and top staff of Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder will share their vision for a new American energy renaissance built on abundant, affordable energy.
"Building Michigan's Energy Future: How a Smart Energy Policy Will Create Jobs and Power Michigan's Economy," will include discussion of how energy production can spark economic growth, increase energy independence, revitalize unions and create thousands of good jobs in the Great Lakes state and across the country.
Among those scheduled to participate in the event will be union members, contractors and energy industry representatives. Featured will be John Hofmeister, former President of Shell Oil Company and founder of Citizens for Affordable Energy; Terry O'Sullivan, General President of the Laborers' International Union of North America and a vocal advocate for the Keystone XL pipeline and President Obama's "all-of-the-above" energy policy; Valerie Brader, Senior Policy Advisor to Gov. Snyder; David Sowerby, Portfolio Manager for Loomis, Sayles & Co. and a member of the Michigan Economic Development Corp.; and John Felmy, Chief Economist of the American Petroleum Institute.
"We are excited about this forum because it crystalizes our developing partnership and lays the foundation for a stronger relationship," O'Sullivan said. "Our country needs a rational energy policy that creates good union jobs and affordable energy for working people, while strengthening our economy and America's energy independence. We can't let politics get in the way. That means building modern pipelines to transport oil from close and trusted allies, safely growing the hydraulic fracturing industry and continuing to increase the viability of renewables. While participants in this upcoming forum may not always be allies, our common interest is strong on energy development and in that we are steadfast partners."
Hofmeister, author of "Why We Hate the Oil Companies, Straight Talk from an Energy Insider," believes private capital can power an energy renaissance, but that government must build a framework and enable development. "Twenty-first century prosperity is on the horizon if we have energy investment that leads to a revamping of our entire energy infrastructure," Hofmeister said. "We must make energy more affordable and have more supply than we have demand. Friday's forum will be an important step."
The Snyder administration is a strong advocate for utilizing natural gas supplies. Brader noted that Michigan is on track to reach its mandated goal of producing 10 percent of its energy from renewables (mostly from wind) and has long used hydraulic fracturing to recover natural gas and oil. The state is eager for consistent national policy to move further forward. "I am hopeful that reliability, affordability and environmental protection will be the guideposts of that national roadmap, as they will be for our state," she said.
Sowerby will speak to how investment in energy development can provide returns for institutions as well as power the economy of Michigan and the country.
Felmy will underscore the need to develop all energy sources. "There are vast amounts of energy sources in our country and we now have the technology to develop them," he said. While oil is expected to decrease as a share of all energy, he said it is projected to continue to supply more than half of energy needs for the next several decades.
Despite an expected decrease in the oil share, job growth in oil and gas extraction is expected to increase. Between 2009 and 2011, midstream oil and gas pipeline construction jobs increased by 8 percent and the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects growth of 14.6 percent through 2020.
O'Sullivan said the developing alliance is strengthened by the common interest of affordable and plentiful energy, but also by the self-interests of all participants. Unions can help ensure quality work, trained workers and family-supporting jobs to support an energy renaissance, which in turn can strengthen union membership, he said.
The half-million members of LIUNA – the Laborers' International Union of North America – are on the forefront of the construction industry, a powerhouse of workers who are proud to build America.
SOURCE Laborers' International Union of North America