Oil and natural gas are essential parts of the 15th District economy. From the Marathon refinery in Crawford County to oil and gas wells throughout Central and Southern Illinois, this is vital to the livelihoods of families and communities.
The fee and regulation scheme that currently exists actually does the opposite of what is intended. It protects large companies while squeezing out small, local companies out of the market. That’s unacceptable to me.
It’s these smaller companies that live and work where their wells operate. They not only work with farmers but have one-on-one relationships with state regulators.
What is necessary is an integrated and comprehensive federal approach between jobs, energy, and the environment.
Working together with local businesses, environmental partners, and regulators instead of at cross purposes.
It’s these partnerships that protect our land and waterways while simultaneously infusing the region with much needed revenue.
I will strengthen partnerships that protect our environment and our economy.
However, the fewer wells that a company operates, the higher their fees are for each of those wells. This is exactly the opposite of the way the system should work.
Add on top of the burdens of increased fees, there are regulations that make operating these small companies cost-prohibitive.
Larger companies can simply absorb the costs by paying fines.
These smaller companies simply cannot.
What we should be doing is increasing costs for large companies and use these fees and fines to fund research and development into methane capture technology and more research into cost-effective renewables like biomass and upgrading the power grid.
Subsidies for small companies makes sense.
For big oil and gas it does not.
Rep. John Shimkus receives so much campaign cash from big industry,
it should be clear as to why.
The recently opened Center for American Rural Energy housed at Eastern Illinois University‘s Center for Clean Energy Research and Education is a great start, but there needs to be more investment, both from the government and from private sector, to jumpstart this economic engine.
There are colleges and universities scattered throughout our great district that can get on board in a myriad of ways. From marketing, to communication studies, journalism, education, science, and more, the opportunities for engagement and community involvement are nearly endless.
- We turn around the fee and regulation scheme that overburdens small companies and favors big energy.
- We fund research and development into new and emerging technologies in both higher education and training programs in our high schools to get our students ready for the jobs of today and tomorrow.
- We unleash the economic engine by connecting the dots between farmland, renewables, education, and the oil and gas industry.
We can’t do this by continuing the business as usual approach by two decade incumbents that don’t bother to listen to their constituents but only to their big campaign donors.
We do this by working together, not by the politics of division. That’s the type of representative I will be.
Working, listening, and relentless.