If you truly care about the environment, then supporting the export of natural gas to Asia, India and other Eastern European countries makes sense.  The air quality issues in those countries can be detrimental to our global environment, and natural gas is a clean fuel that should be promoted.

Editorial by Rose Pugliese, Commissioner, Mesa County, Colorado

President Trump has been very skilled at identifying the needs of rural communities and working with those communities to capitalize on their assets. It is refreshing to know that President Trump, and his administration, has a true vision for not just energy independence for the United States, but also for economic security and stabilization of our communities. 

I was invited to Washington, D.C., along with several local leaders, including Commissioner Shawn Bolton of Rio Blanco County, Kristi Pollard of the Grand Junction Economic Partnership, Derek Wagner, Vice President of Colorado Mesa University and David Ludlam of the Western Colorado Oil and Gas Association, to attend meetings with high-level Trump Administration officials to advocate for the project.  We had a 10-hour day of meetings with the U.S. State Department, the Chairman of Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), and the Special Assistant to the President for Energy.

Many western Colorado counties and leaders have been advocating nationally for the Jordan Cove project to be approved by FERC.  The Jordan Cove project is a liquefied natural gas export facility that will allow natural gas to be extracted in western Colorado before being exported via Coos Bay, Oregon.  The Jordan Cove project, if approved, will create hundreds of jobs throughout the Rocky Mountains that will aid in stabilizing regional economies for decades to come.

What was most interesting is that western Colorado’s delegation has been advocating for Jordan Cove for years now, but most of the officials we met with were curious as to why western Colorado communities care about a project in Coos Bay, Oregon.  These high-ranking officials did not fully realize the connection between suppliers of natural gas (western Colorado and the abundance of resources we have here) and the end users overseas.  Recall that the United States Geological Survey estimates the Mancos Shale of the Piceance Basin, located throughout various counties in western Colorado, contains up to 100 trillion cubic feet of technically recoverable natural gas.

It was helpful that our western Colorado delegation was able to offer different perspectives on the necessity of the Jordan Cove project and for Trump Administration officials to understand similarities between the rural communities of western Colorado and those in Oregon.  Economically, Mesa County is not like Denver, and similarly, Coos Bay is not like Portland.

Surprisingly, when we met with officials at the U.S. State Department, it was our western Colorado delegation that learned something:  Asia is not the only region that could be a buyer of western Colorado gas.  They advised us to think more globally about potential markets.  Most importantly, they told us that President Trump wants the United States to be a global energy leader and that beyond the Jordan Cove project, there is a willingness on the part of the Trump Administration to work with western Colorado counties on exporting our natural gas resources.

The U.S. State Department also foresees more integration between their agency and the Department of Interior on natural gas export opportunities.  This collaboration is an exciting revelation because many of western Colorado natural gas resources are located beneath our public lands, so the ability for local governments and producers to work collaboratively with both agencies simultaneously will benefit the region as a whole from an efficiency standpoint.

The day’s most fascinating conversations were centered on how Colorado’s diverse political leadership is in support of the Jordan Cove project.  It is extraordinary to have Governor Hickenlooper, Senators Bennet and Gardner, Congressmen Tipton and Lamborn and many western Colorado counties standing united to push the project forward because it is good for the State of Colorado.

If you truly care about the environment, then supporting the export of natural gas to Asia, India and other Eastern European countries makes sense.  The air quality issues in those countries can be detrimental to our global environment, and natural gas is a clean fuel that should be promoted.

If you truly care about geopolitical stabilization, then supporting the export of natural gas to our allies should be a priority.

If you truly care about making the United States an energy leader around the world, then supporting the export of natural gas to the global market is an important step and will benefit our country greatly.  It will also help rural energy communities combat stabilize our economies and create long-term jobs.

A day after our whirlwind trip, President Trump announced his strong support for the export of liquefied natural gas.  Coincidence?  I do not believe so. He is really listening to us, and we are grateful for his support and leadership on the Jordan Cove project.

Commissioner Rose Pugliese is a wife, mom and a dedicated member of the community who is committed to transparent, accessible government and is accountable to the people she serves. In addition to serving as a Mesa County Commissioner, Rose, is an advocate for the community and is involved in many of the organizations that work together to grow the economy in Mesa County, Colorado.


Free Range Report

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