Kilgore Rotary Club recently hosted Luke Legate, Director of G. Fox Consulting, to speak about the benefits of the oil and gas industry in Texas.

Legate, who lives in Austin, spoke to Rotarians Wednesday, Oct. 30, at their regular weekly meeting. He discussed his work advocating for the oil and gas industry in the state as a member of multiple professional oil and gas industry groups.

“You might think that sounds like kind of an easy job, right? Especially in places like East Texas and West Texas. But, increasingly, more and more, it is more of a challenge representing the benefits of the oil and gas business because there are some people who do not want the oil and gas business. There are a lot of activists and groups and candidates for office all across the country who want to stop all fossil fuels.”

Legate expounded on the benefits oil and gas has brought to the Lone Star State and the country.

“Through ingenuity and excellence, Texas oil has completely transformed our nation, without question. What has made this such a success? It’s our continuous drive for innovation,” Legate said, referencing George Mitchell, a businessman and real estate developer from Galveston who led the way in the development of techniques for the extraction of natural gas from shale formations.

“Texas now produces more (oil and gas) than most Middle Eastern countries, just the state of Texas. The United States has recently surpassed Russia and some say Saudi Arabia in production,” Legate said.

He referred to the September drone attacks of Saudi Arabian oil facilities which led to the destruction of nearly 6 million barrels of oil.

“What happened to the price of oil?” Legate asked.

“Nothing. It spiked up a few dollars and, by the end of the day, it was right back where it was. You know why? West Texas, East Texas, South Texas, North Dakota, Colorado, the United States.”

He added, just 10 years ago, such an attack could have sent oil prices up to $150 per barrel.

Legate also discussed the impact of oil and gas harvesting on the environment.

“I often tell people ‘where do you think the most responsible harvesting of fossil fuels occurs int his world?’ The United States. We have the EPA, we have OSHA, we have TCEQ (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality), we have the Texas Railroad Commission. We have regulatory bodies that regulate, and rightfully so, this industry. I can tell you, in other parts of the world, they do not have regulatory practices. They do not have government bodies regulating that.”

Legate said the oil and gas industry was committed to following science-based recommendations for regulatory policies, “not just politics.”

“Even as we have increased our drilling, our carbon emissions are at the lowest level in a generation. You never hear that. You hear that the air is dirtier than it’s ever been, quite the contrary. We have reduced our footprint of the industry. For the past 100 years, we have increased our consumption, our production, our GDP and our population yet our air emissions are declining because we’re using more technology. We’re using more innovation.”

Legate claimed there is a “false choice” that someone, like himself, cannot be both an advocate for the environment and for the oil and gas industry.

He also described how the energy industry is expanding into alternative energy sources, such as wind power, but said that technology is not yet sufficiently developed to replace oil and gas completely.

He said Texas is now selling liquid natural gas to Poland and Mexico and described how oil and gas revenues help fuel the $44 billion Texas Permanent University fund, which supports the University of Texas and Texas A&M University.

Responding to a question about opposition to the oil and gas industry and pipelines from activists and millennials, Legate said “it’s about education.”

“Pipelines are essential. That’s the safest, most efficient way to move product in the United States.”

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