An estimated four to five thousand people filled an exhibit hall at the George R. Brown Convention Center. All of them work in the oil and natural gas industry. Drilling for oil was a hotly debated topic during the presidential election nearly two years ago, but since the big oil spill, it's offshore drilling that has come under fire. Here are two of the event’s speakers R. King Milling with the Wetlands Foundation and Houston businessman Sherman Lewis.
"Whether we like it or not, what happened offshore in Louisiana is considered by many a game changer and we have to come to grips with the rationale for that shifting environment."
"Now I know there are plenty of reasons to inspect each rig and to make sure that they are of the highest of standards, but we can inspect each rig without doing an arbitrary moratorium on all rigs."
Many environmentalists would like to see an end to oil drilling period. But those in the industry say that’s not possible right now, since so many products Americans depend on come from petroleum. Citizens Chamber Of Commerce Chairman Carroll Robinson had this to say doesn’t like being called anti-environment.
"They believe they love America more than we do. They believe they love the environment more than we do. They have forgotten that we are parents and we love our kids. We want them to go to the beach. We want them to breathe clean air. We want them to drink clean water."
He also had a message for President Obama.
"Now I want to remind the president that when he flew to see the troops, weren’t any solar panels, no algae bases bio fuels. They gased up Air Force One."
The final speaker was former Shell Oil President John Hofmeister. He says a six month pause in drilling to study the matter is unnecessary.
"When you have record snowfall in Washignton D.C like the winter of 2010, where does the natural gas that keeps people warm and keeps people alive come from? The Gulf of Mexico."
The event was called Rally For Jobs. Two other (Texas) rallies took place in Port Arthur and Corpus Christi.
Although the industry is opposed to the some of the President’s and Congress’s proposals, the rally itself wasn’t supposed to be political or favor any particular party. John Hofmeister began his speech by saying Mr. President this is from one Democrat to another.