TULSA, Okla. (AP) - Some members of Oklahoma's delegation at this week's Democratic national convention disagree with a portion of the party platform regarding energy companies.
The platform calls for Democrats to fight against oil companies and decries the large amounts of money they contribute to political campaigns and spend on lobbying. But those in Oklahoma's delegation said the energy industry has been good to the state, the Tulsa World reported from Denver, the site of the convention.
“How can you be opposed to an industry that was the single largest employer in our state, an industry that is literally bringing people out of poverty in my district?” asked U.S. Rep Dan Boren, the only Democrat among the state's seven members of Congress. “I would not agree with that part of the platform.”
Stuart Price of Tulsa, a delegation member who works in the energy business, called the wording in the party platform “an extreme position.”
“There are those who do not want, for whatever reason, to give our energy companies their due for creating our lifestyle,” Price said.
State Attorney General Drew Edmondson, who is not a member of the Oklahoma delegation but did serve on the convention's platform committee, defended the language in the platform. He said all special interests should be examined by the party.
“I am comfortable with that sentence,” Edmondson said.
Edmondson said energy companies need to drill on land already made available, instead of asking the government to open up other areas for exploration, such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.
“We need to move forward with that,” he said.
The platform also calls for stopping the flow of money from the U.S. to countries with regimes that are hostile to the nation's interests, combating climate change and reducing oil consumption by at least 35 percent by 2030.
“I think it is important that we do everything, drilling in ANWR, drilling in the outer continental shelf, everything we can in the lower 48 (states) responsibly,” Boren said.
Boren said he also supports development of alternative sources of energy. He said House leaders have assured him there will be a vote later this year on a bill that would promote the use of natural gas.