Energy, election focus of rally

Posted May 19, 2012

Michael Bradwell

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ARDEN - The message was brief and directed to those who no doubt support it.

About 1,300 exhibitors attending a private "Vote 4 Energy" rally Friday in advance of today's Tri-County Oil & Gas Expo at the Washington County Fairgrounds were urged to vote for candidates at all levels who will support energy policies that will help create jobs and advance the country's economy.

The rally, hosted by the expo, the American Petroleum Institute and Pennsylvania Independent Oil & Gas Association, lasted less than 15 minutes before country music star Darryl Worley took the stage.

"We're not here to tell you which party to vote for or which candidate to vote for," said Marty Durbin, API's executive vice president of government affairs.

"I think you folks get it: You're seeing job creation, you're seeing economic development," he said, referencing the natural gas energy boom being produced by the Marcellus Shale in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

Durbin said API is projecting oil and gas production can generate as many as a million new jobs in the next seven years, as well as $127 billion in government revenue.

Earlier Friday, during an interview at the Observer-Reporter, he said the rally at the fairgrounds is part of a national initiative of API to get American voters to demand a responsible energy policy.

"A vote for energy is not a vote for a person, or a party, or even a philosophy," he said. "It's a vote for promoting more responsible North American energy production that will create thousands of new American jobs and enhance our country's energy security.

"These rallies are happening because an electorate that is informed on energy issues will mean better energy policies for the country."

"Energy's importance to our country needs to stay in the forefront in this election cycle," added Louis D'Amico, president and executive director of Pennsylvania Independent Oil & Gas Association. "Energy development in Pennsylvania translates to new jobs, economic growth and community revitalization."

"Many of us locally recognize the need for a comprehensive national policy devoted to the responsible development of domestic energy," said Pat McCune with Tri County Oil and Gas Expo. "Southwestern Pennsylvania has always supplied much of the nation's energy, and we remain committed to help achieve energy security for America."

Last month, Susan Eisenhower, a public policy expert in the field of energy, told attendees at a Washington & Jefferson College Energy Summit that unless Americans demand an energy policy, it will never be developed by Congress.

Durbin, who agreed with Eisenhower's assessment, said he hoped the rallies would encourage attendees to spread the word to other voters.

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