Remembering What, and Who, We’re Fighting for at the 2020 WSPA Annual Conference

Written by Catherine Reheis-Boyd, WSPA President

This year, it was my honor to deliver the keynote address at the 2020 WSPA Annual Conference, which was held, for the first time, on a virtual platform!

While I missed seeing my friends and colleagues in person, I was so proud of my team for putting together a seamless, educational, and innovative conference that brought us all together. This was an important time for us to take a breath as an industry and re-focus on our shared mission: a sustainable energy future for everyone.

It’s no secret that this has been a challenging year. COVID. Economic turmoil. Wildfires. Power outages. It’s been a lot to handle, for all of us.

Despite these challenges, I’m so glad that our industry took the time to get together and remind one another of what – and who – we’re fighting for. Even with all of these challenges, it’s still up to each of us to power the state’s responses to wildfires, pandemics, and crises. It’s up to us to power our economic recovery.

It’s up to us to keep working towards a truly sustainable energy future. It’s what we do!

When I spoke to our Annual Conference attendees last week, I was speaking to some of the hardest-working, most dedicated, resilient people I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet.

The men and women of this industry work hard. I get to see it every day.  And there isn’t a single person working in this industry who doesn’t want a cleaner, safer, more sustainable planet.

It’s this hardworking problem-solving mentality that:

  • Keeps us operating safely and successfully under the most stringent environmental regulations in the world.
  • Pushes our ever-evolving industry to continue to innovate and adapt.

As I like to say to my colleagues, we’ve been evolving ever since the horse and buggy – it’s in our nature!

Despite the changes we’ve all experienced in the past year, there are some things that will never change:

  1. We will never stop advocating, fiercely, for the women and men of our industry.
  2. We will never stop pushing for policies based on science and data.
  3. We know that facts, not fears, must shape our energy future if we want to protect our environment, our economic prosperity, and our sense of social equality.

As we continue innovating, creating and advancing, we must remember that our future is dependent on a diverse energy mix – not one that puts all of our eggs in one basket. Oil and gas will continue as a part of our energy mix for decades while we work towards a diversified energy portfolio that ensures resiliency, affordability, and reliability for everyone, everywhere, all the time.

It’s time to come together, to work together, to innovate together, to collaborate together. We have the expertise, science, data, engineering know-how and the experience to tackle the energy challenges we face right now. This year’s Annual Conference was a wonderful reminder of this fact.

As we like to say at WSPA – there’s power in everybody. When we work together, listen to one another, and strive towards a common goal, we can achieve a future that supports all Californians. Together.

WSPA proudly sponsors KEDF’s “STEMposium” for local youth

The Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) was proud to sponsor and participate in Kern County’s Third Annual STEMposium, hosted by the Kern Economic Development Foundation (KEDF) on April 10th, 2019. The STEMposium’s purpose is to engage youth in Kern County – California’s leading county in energy production – and get them excited about all things STEM.

As one of the event’s Silver Level sponsors, WSPA got the opportunity to directly engage young students and teach them more about the oil and gas industry as well as the opportunities it provides in Kern County and beyond. With nearly 3,000 students in attendance, the newly branded WSPA booth, prize wheel and giveaways were a hit with the young attendees. As a proud event sponsor, WSPA looks forward to continuing its involvement with future STEMposiums and its engagement with local youth.

Click here for local news coverage featuring WSPA’s very own, Bob Poole.

Embracing A New Perspective: Attending GreenBiz as an Oil & Gas Industry Veteran

What would it be like for a representative of the oil and gas industry to attend a sustainability conference? What would I learn? What kind of politics would I encounter? What kinds of views of the oil & gas industry would I hear? Those questions crossed my mind as I prepared to attend my first GreenBiz conference.

GreenBiz is one of the largest annual conferences on sustainability in the US. Run by the GreenBiz group, it is an opportunity for businesses, NGO’s, policymakers and other stakeholders to come together to discuss trends in the sustainability space, identify potential solutions to pressing challenges, and provide a forum for networking and collaboration.

I work for the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA). We are a trade association that represents the oil and gas industry in the Western United States.   Our members are the major integrated and independent oil and gas companies like Exxon, Shell, and Valero.   If you participate in the climate change conversation, you might have noticed a few changes in how our industry is engaging in discussing environmental issues. Not only are more of our members talking more proactively about climate change, they are actively evaluating how they can tackle it and increasing their investments in renewable energy sources.

My colleagues at WSPA, under the leadership of our President, Catherine Reheis-Boyd, are beginning to champion a stronger point of view about an inclusive and intentional dialogue about climate change that brings all stakeholders together, including the oil and gas sector.  We believe that to reach a meaningful solution, there has to be even more explicit collaboration between traditional power and fuels and the renewable or green power sector. We believe that if we pull together and spend more time problem-solving, we ought to be able to align the interests of our environment, our economy, our sense of social equality, and the future of energy. Although we may be occasionally divided by politics, we all share the same future.

It was that belief that led me to attend GreenBiz this year. I wanted to share our perspective with the environmentally minded people outside the oil and gas industry, and to hear theirs. And the response was overwhelmingly positive. More often than not, the reaction was to welcome us to the discussion and to encourage greater participation.

WSPA members are already collaborating in the sustainable energy space, such as large investments in renewables like solar, wind and geothermal and research into advanced biofuels. I heard several times that research and investment is needed to drive innovative solutions for global issues like climate change, but more than anything else, I learned that we can’t solve these problems independently. We have to work together.

Above all, I was inspired by the incredible focus on collaboration and partnership and the recognition that business is not the enemy to, but rather the agent of change. This was a welcomed outcome, and reinforced WSPA’s belief that we can and should be a more active part of the sustainability discussion.

That’s why today, I’m looking forward to the journey ahead. There’s so much good work to be done. My experience at GreenBiz is an encouraging sign that our voice is indeed welcomed, and that the opportunity for partnership is apparent. It was the best outcome I could have hoped for, and I am looking forward to returning next year.

Written by Jodie Muller, Senior Vice President Government & Association Affairs at the Western States Petroleum Association. In this capacity, Jodie manages external advocacy and outreach programs dealing with government and public affairs for the Association, and serves on the President’s Leadership Team, providing management of and strategic direction to all staff.