07 Mar 2017

Federal Family


Some months ago at an industry conference, a mid-level staffer in one of the federal bureauracy’s ABC agencies revealed what few such employees have ever acknowledged.  In describing inter-agency communications and joint actions, this official freely and often referred to the federal “family.”

In a room full of oil and gas Government Affairs practitioners, heads jerked upward and knowing glances exchanged.  When asked about this concept, he freely volunteered that there is an understanding among agencies that they are all “family” and that advancing the agenda of one should be the goal of all.  Maybe so, but in the most recent administration there was an overarching goal – keep oil, gas and coal in the ground – whatever it takes.

From the EPA, to the BLM, Fish and Wildlife, DOJ, Forest Service and the myriad additional intersections extractive industries experience with federal bureaucracies and rules, a family of coordinated and aggressive opposition effectively retarded production growth in particular and the economy in general.

Early actions in the Trump administration give hope that the entrenched rulemakers and footdraggers can be excised from the “family.”  The cozy relationships that brought “sue and settle,” the direct line in hiring from NGOs to the EPA and back again and the attacks on state regulators as hapless or non-existent could end…or at least be greatly diminished.

A favorite old axiom posits that if you are able to survive what family and friends visit upon you, you’ll be fine.  Eight years of the previous administration’s friends and family were survived, never has a page-turning been as welcomed as that of January 20, 2017.

3 Responses to Federal Family
  1. I’m having a difficult time squaring your perspective with the foloowing report: http://money.cnn.com/2016/07/21/investing/trump-energy-plan-obama-oil-boom/

    According to the above report President Obama presided over a 74% increase in domestic oil production, and had the glut of oil not depressed the price it probably would have been significantly higher. So, how do you reach the conclusion that the Obama administration’s goal was to keep oil and gas in the ground?

    Further, the economics of the oil and gas position evade me. Prices are currently struggling to stay in the $50 range. If US production doubles, as Harold Hamm predicted last year, how will the price remain elevated enough to make it profitable? I’m all for energy independence and low oil prices, but, it seems to me that, absent restrictions on oil imports, the price of US oil will be subject to global oil prices and excess production and inventory will drive prices below the economically viable rate. Given that, how are US oil companies going to produce more?

    • A tall order to answer all of that without exhausting us both. I partially addressed your inquiry in my latest post.

  2. You really make it seem really easy along with your presentation but I in finding this matter to be actually something that I think I might never understand. It sort of feels too complex and very extensive for me. I’m taking a look ahead for your subsequent publish, I will try to get the hold of it!


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