Thank you, Mr. Petree. It's a privilege for me to be down here and share a few of my thoughts with you.
When I mentioned the title of my talk to Roy Carlson, his reaction seemed to indicate that the title left a lot to be desired. Well, actually happenings in Washington these days leave a lot to be desired. Nevertheless, I'll try to reach some understandable conclusions from the current state of our industry's governmental relations and welter of problems facing us.
Perhaps, the title -- or, at least, subtitle -- of my remarks should be: "It's a whole new ballgame in Washington.'' As you know, recently we lost to the great state of Texas our professional baseball team -- the Washington Senators, now the Texas Rangers. As a result, apparently, the play has shifted from RFK Stadium to the halls of the Nation's Capital, and is being played by a different set of players. And, from what I can see, they've got the jump on the professional baseball teams in spring practice. And, while taking their swipes at industry, they're running up a pretty hefty batting average.
Seriously, our industry -- and business in general -- has a formidable line-up of critics and detractors centered mainly in Washington. And they all seem to be eager to take the field against us.
Who are some of these groups of critics and detractors? And how are they affecting our efforts to do business and to provide the increasing energy needs of the American consumer?
At the risk of overlooking some particular group, I would list five major segments -- though on a number of issues these groups overlap.
The first group is the new breed of Congressmen on the Hill. They are, for the most part, young, articulate and activist in outlook. And also, for the most part, they represent the non-oil producing -- or consumer -- states. While strongly protecting the interests of their own states on issues that have parallels to petroleum, they nonetheless slash out at every opportunity to criticize the oil industry. The import quota system is an excellent example of their double-public standard. Senators and Representatives from states heavily engaged in dairy farming, textiles or footwear seek to continue or to strengthen "protectionist'' measures affecting businesses in their states. At the same time, they criticize -- at every turn -- the quota system as it applies to oil -- even though the arguments -- looked at objectively -- are far more compelling for the oil industry than they are for their own states industries.
This being an election year, the politicians will be going into extra innings to take turns batting against industry -- all industry; our industry. A recent s editorial cartoon depicted no fewer than a dozen Democratic presidential hopefuls climbing and clawing their way toward the top of the presidential tree.