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An Inaugural Year: In 2023, True Transition moved from an idea to an organization.

True Transition is a young organization with old ambitions. Workplaces should be safe. Jobs should support a family. Energy should be affordable. When you make a mess, you clean it up. There is nothing particularly cutting edge about safe work that pays well, or responsible business practices, but we believe these values are worth defending.


As we look forward to another year of growth, we are taking a step back to reflect on some of our milestones from last year: 


We published research based on the largest survey of oil and gas workers ever conducted

We began 2023 with the publication of The Future of Energy & Work in the United States: The American Oil & Gas Worker Survey, featuring the voices of over 1,600 American energy workers. The report was featured in LA Illuminator, and shared with policymakers. The report gave voice to American oil and gas workers throughout the supply chain who spoke about  their workplace conditions, compensation, safety, and their opinions on the future of the industry and the energy transition. We are still following up on the recommendations and insights gained from undertaking this original research. 


We hosted a roundtable that brought upstream and downstream workers together

In the Spring, we convened former and current oil and gas workers in Thibodeaux, Louisiana at Nicholls State University (NSU). The roundtable featured Louisianans who worked both upstream on Gulf of Mexico drilling platforms, and downstream in Louisiana’s refining and petrochemical sector. Each worker shared stories about their pride about making modern life possible and harrowing tales about corners cut and the prevailing pressure to get the job done at all costs. With audience members also from industry and unions, a long and robust Q&A followed, revealing to us that the conversation about the future of energy and work is just beginning.


While a rig is connected to a pipeline which leads to a refinery, workers along this chain aren’t in the practice of exchanging insights with each other. But at the roundtable and in our survey, there was plenty of common ground. Pipeline inspectors and petrochemical workers echoed each other almost exactly: crews are understaffed and overworked. All segments complained of declining wages and benefits during a time of record production. In the meeting room at NSU, the workers made each other realize that they weren’t alone in their experiences - it wasn’t just their own individual problem, it was one they could tackle together. 


Leo Lindner, Megan Biven, Jose Corpus (Commission Shift), and Norman Rogers (United Steelworkers, Local 675)


We met workers where they are, and welcomed a new organizing fellow

We hosted dinners, met workers for coffee, and made the rounds at community events around Louisiana. True Transition aims to be an organization that puts people first and that means building trust and investing in relationships. We are in this for the long haul.


Leo Lindner, our inaugural board member and first regional organizer, set the groundwork for this dialogue. Leo grew up “down the bayou” in Lafourche Parish. Leo worked in the oilfield for 10 years, 5 of which on the Deepwater Horizon, until the night of the Macondo blowout on 4/20/2010. He set the tone and model for how we want to conduct ourselves and our work. Leo has taken a step back to focus on writing and for well deserved family time. We have benefited immeasurably from Leo Lindner’s leadership, vision, and kindness. 


We are proud to welcome Justin Solet as our Equation Fellow. Justin brings a wealth of knowledge of the region, firsthand experience in the offshore oil and gas industry, and a passion for organizing. Justin is a Citizen of the United Houma Nation and grew up in a commercial fishing family in Dulac, Louisiana. He spent over ten years working in the offshore industry from the Gulf of Mexico to Alaska as a snubbing engineer and blowout specialist. 


Justin Solet, Equation Campaign Fellow


Charting a future for wind power in the Gulf for public benefit

Along with other worker and Louisiana-based groups, we submitted public comments to the Department of the Interior regarding commercial leasing for wind power development in the Gulf of Mexico. Several of our recommendations regarding Project Labor Agreements were incorporated into the Final Sale Notice. Offshore wind development offers a lifeline to shipyards and marine services companies who have seen a sharp decline in oil and gas contracts. But we believe that economic activity on public lands and waters should have a clear public benefit, especially for the people who do the physical work. Workers entering this field should be confident that they will receive the best training (whether they are green to offshore or an experienced hand) and a career with good salary, benefits and stability. 


Megan went to Washington, to testify in front of Congress

In November, our founder, Megan Biven, testified in front of Congress on recommended reforms to the Outer Continental Shelf in front of the House Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources oversight hearing.  We advocated for reforms such as requiring operators and contractors to provide personal locators for all offshore workers and developing uniform safety rules regarding storm evacuation. We will continue to talk to both sides of the aisle about making the OCS the most professional and advanced place to work in the world. 




Prioritizing oil well clean up as part of the IIJA funding 

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 (IIJA) contains $4.7 billion for “Methane Reduction Infrastructure” to decommission orphaned oil and gas wells, which includes plugging the well and surface reclamation. The Department of the Interior is distributing billions in grants to state oil and gas offices to carry out this work. True Transition has been engaged in multiple arenas to ensure that this program is implemented in the best possible way. At the end of the year, the Department of the Interior’s Orphaned Well Program requested public input on the “Regulatory Improvement Grants” to be distributed to oil and gas-producing states. We collaborated with the Ohio River Valley Institute (ORVI) to submit detailed recommendations on what state regulatory reforms should qualify a state to receive these funds. When legislation is all carrot and no stick, sometimes you sharpen the carrots that you have.  True Transition and ORVI had previously submitted comments on the formula grants portion of the orphan well grant program, and in 2023, the Department of Interior, adopted many of our recommendations.


We’re also working to prevent future orphaned oil and gas infrastructure from winding up on the public’s doorstep. In 2023, we submitted detailed recommendations to improve the Department of the Interior’s oversight of the Outer Continental Shelf Leasing Program to appropriately reduce risks and push back costs of cleanup to the companies that profit from those resources. True Transition also collaborated with Texas-based Commission Shift on a series of educational videos about the ins and outs of orphan wells in Texas based on a 2022 report


Launching a legal hotline for offshore workers, filling a safety gap 

When we sat down with the results of our energy worker survey, we discussed how we could translate the findings into research and projects that helped those same workers? One answer jumped out at us: safety. Just under half of survey respondents believed that their company’s safety program was explicitly or implicitly designed to shift the liability of an accident onto the worker. As a consequence, 37% of Gulf Coast workers said they would hesitate to raise safety concerns, and 38% reported previously being instructed to engage in unsafe practices contrary to established protocols.. 


So we launched the Offshore Workers Legal Line (OWLL), teaming up with the sharp minds and good-hearted folks at Emergency Legal Responders, who boast a wealth of legal experience maintaining a free emergency legal line, hosting community legal clinics, and customized legal training for social service providers. OWLL is not just available for emergency situations, but for the various unique issues that are particular to offshore work. 





This is a pilot project made possible by the generous contributions from the Equation Campaign, 11th Hour, and the Lift Fund. If you or your organization want to partner with us to extend this pilot into a permanent service that protects workers, the Gulf of Mexico, and coastal communities, please contact us at info@truetransition.org.   


Offshore workers and their families can call the hotline (844-212-5447), open from 10 am-2 pm CST on Tuesdays and Thursdays, to speak with an experienced attorney who can provide timely guidance and advice in response. Additionally, you can submit your legal questions via an online form, request a callback or receive an email response


Join us in 2024 and beyond 

Here at True Transition, we believe the most important play is the next one. Our conversations with workers and their communities drive our policy work and our planned projects. We’re looking forward to another busy year. Stay tuned to the website for information regarding in-person events, our policy works, and exciting new research.

One of our big goals for 2024 is to grow our team and Advisory Board. If you are interested in supporting our work, please get in touch at info@truetransition.org

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