From the Institute for Energy Research

President Biden wants refineries to produce more gasoline to help lower gasoline prices, but operating refineries are running at full capacity and idled refineries are unlikely to bear the high recommissioning costs to come back on line, according to IHS Markit analysis. About 375,000 barrels per day of the 1.482 million barrels per day of North American refining capacity shuttered since June 2019 may be eligible for restart.

A commentary in The Energy Institute says President Biden could make it easier for these plants to retool if he genuinely wanted them back online, but he has taken no positive action to back up his repeated calls for more refining.  Refinery owners will not make the huge investments necessary if they cannot recoup their investment, which is likely to take years. It is unclear what the Biden administration will do in that timeline, but it is unlikely to be beneficial to the domestic petroleum industry since his actions have been to produce abroad, not in the United States, as he travels to other countries to beg for more oil production. While U.S. refineries are seeing strong margins currently, it is unclear how long that will last. Refiners are unlikely to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in recommissioning costs for only one or two years of strong returns, against a backdrop of the Biden administration’s promise to “end fossil fuels.”

The IER commentary goes on to report, since June 2019, 1.482 million barrels per day of refining capacity has been rationalized in the United States and Canada, of which about 590,000 barrels per day was damaged in storms or refinery incidents and is not eligible for quick restart, and 237,000 barrels per day is being converted to renewable diesel production. Only the 375,000 barrels per day mentioned above is eligible for restart.

Gasoline demand is at or slightly above pre-pandemic levels and distillate demand is above pre-pandemic levels. But, refinery capacity is less due to closures and conversions to renewable fuel. While demand for gasoline has returned, the ability to meet it has been reduced — or rationalized — away during the pandemic when the demand and margins were down for domestic refineries. There are few options to improve refinery capacity since it takes years to permit and expand existing facilities and the trend in the industry has been to shut down or convert to renewable diesel which receives large subsidies and higher profits. 

No completely new refineries have been built since 1977, and in fact, the EPA under Biden has begun to question routine renewals of existing refinery permits. Rather than looking for ways to help refineries add capacity, the Administration appears to be searching for excuses to close them.

In the past, the industry would expand existing facilities if demand increased, but if something goes wrong — like an explosion — it results in a bigger hit to the industry’s ability to produce gasoline and diesel. Increasing existing refinery capacity rather than building more refineries creates fragility in the system that would not occur if the exact same refinery capacity was built in different locations. Also, much of U.S. refinery capacity is in the Gulf, which can get hit by hurricanes and which will exacerbate the problem.

During the pandemic, refineries operated less, while others closed down completely — including a refinery in Newfoundland. And before the pandemic, a refinery complex in Philadelphia was beset by a series of fires and explosions, which led to its complete shutdown. This was after attempts to keep it open by the Obama and Trump administrations. By late 2020, it was believed that because of structurally lower demand for fuel due to the COVID lockdowns, idle refineries would convert to being storage facilities as opposed to refining petroleum products.

According to the most recent Energy Information Administration data, U.S. refining capacity is slightly below 18 million barrels per day, while in the months before the pandemic shut down, it was around 19 million barrels per day. Further, less oil is going into U.S. refineries daily: According to the most recent EIA data, 16 million barrels per day of oil are entering U.S. refineries, which is well above the pandemic low of just under 13 million barrels, but a decline from the almost 16.5 million barrels per day in February 2020.

China’s refining capacity is expected to reach 18.81 million barrels per day in 2022, overtaking the United States to become the world’s top refiner, according to China’s CNPC’s Economics & Technology Research Institute. This mirrors the shift to offshoring manufacturing of all kinds from the United States coinciding with the growth of the regulatory state in the United States.

The Institute expects China’s refining capacity to increase to 20 million barrels per day by 2025. Despite the high refining capacity, utilization rates are low as China has had several COVID lockdowns, which reduced domestic demand. About a third of China’s refining capacity is currently idled. While China could export more, it has cut export quotas because its refining sector is set up mainly to serve its domestic market. The government controls how much fuel can be sent abroad via a quota system that also applies to privately owned companies. And while China has allowed more shipments at times over the years, it does not want to become a major oil-product exporter. In China, many of the new plants are so-called mega-refineries, which have the flexibility to produce both fuels and petrochemicals.

Last year, China exported around 1.21 million barrels a day of fuel oil, diesel, gasoline and jet fuel –about 7 percent of its total refining capacity at the end of 2020. This year, rather than allow more shipments as local demand drops, it is exporting less. Only 17.5 million tons of fuel export quotas have been allocated so far, compared with 29.5 million tons at the same point last year. Diesel shipments dropped to the lowest level in seven years in May.

New refining capacity has also been added in the Middle East, but exports from there are also limited as well as Russian exports following its invasion of Ukraine.

As the western world is shuttering refining capacity to meet climate change goals, China and other developing countries are seemingly ignoring the goals that they have set up. This means Western countries are increasing the cost of living for their constituents in the name of climate change while countries like China and India are making sure that they have adequate capacity to improve the lifestyle of their inhabitants and the energy security of their nations.

In the United States, the Biden administration is calling for more refined products publicly, while its actions all point towards limiting or reducing refining capacity.  Americans are seeing the results of these policies each time they buy something made more expensive by increased energy costs.

by Evelyn Pyburn

I can remember thinking, as a student, learning about the issue of public information and thinking that so obvious is its benefit, that in no way would any reasonable person ever oppose it. But then, that was a time when I also believed that most adults were reasonable. It was a time too, when I concluded that our freedom would always be secure, because who wouldn’t want freedom?

This is why you don’t put youngsters in charge of things — we are really quite ignorant about the world. We truly do trust that being grown-up means to be rational. What a trauma it is for a child to learn the truth of that! A great deal that troubles so many young people today is in trying to make sense of the adult world where they are told one thing and watch so many of their role models do quite the opposite.

I still don’t understand people who spurn freedom in favor of government control over our lives. What exactly do they see as a utopian society? What if they aren’t the dictator-in-charge, what kind of existence do they imagine for themselves and everyone else? No one has ever answered that question, so I remain puzzled and quite dubious about how reasonable many people are.

But for those who want freedom, be assured it isn’t possible without open, transparent government at every level. If you believe in being able to vote for those who represent you, how can you possibly imagine making an intelligent vote, if you do not KNOW? You have to KNOW all things – what the issues are; what the various points of view are about the issues; the history of those issues and how past decisions came about; the position of the candidate for whom you are considering voting; and how that candidate voted in the past. If you don’t know all those things, you cannot vote responsibly. If you have been denied that information, you have been denied your right to vote – and most importantly you are being denied freedom.

As a representative of the people – elected, appointed or hired — you have no right to know things any more so than do your constituents. You are not meant to be privileged in your knowledge, although it would not be surprising to learn that you are often urged not to divulge information by colleagues or attorneys or others seeking privilege. It is the way of power-mongering — those who control the flow of information, control.

The only reason a public official would want to deny the public information is because they know that what they are doing is not acceptable. It is to know that, if your constituents knew the whole truth about an issue they would object, push for change and undoubtedly find someone else to represent them.

That is what the Montana Constitution demands – full public disclosure. Montana is said to have one of the best and strongest public information laws in the country, but sadly when it comes to evaluations about which states have the best open, public information, Montana ranks very low. That is not the fault of our law, but the fault of those who have pledge to abide by our Constitution.

The only exception to information being public is when it involves personal issues –  an exception that is quite often abused by many public officials. Personal information is about what is “personal” to a public employee or perhaps even a citizen, such as health issues or marital status, or religious preferences, or where they are going on vacation. Public officials quite often, most erroneously extend that cover to things that are not really personal – such as job performance or criminal conduct.

There have been legal challenges regarding just how “personal” a public servant’s job performance really is, and not surprisingly the courts have concluded that employee performance is very important information to the employer – ie. the taxpayers – we have a right- to-KNOW. Job performance reviews, for example, often closed to the public, should be open to the public. Or, when a public official attempts to hide charges of wrong doing by an employee, they really have no authority to do that, because that employee is an employee of the public.

Much of what the government does often involves the gathering of information regarding businesses, in the process of regulating or licensing or controlling in one manner or another, which not surprisingly can often lead to abuse and reasons for the public to ask questions. But when a citizen asks for the information, they are usually put off with the claim that the government cannot release that information because it is a privacy concern of the citizen. Balderdash!

It may have been private information at one time, but the government violated that citizen’s rights in coercing the information. Once the government has the information, it becomes public information! Personal privacy has already been violated.  The government probably had no right to acquire it, and without it the government would not have been able to over-reach with regulations which undoubtedly continue to violate the citizen’s rights. That’s one of the things that happens when one right is violated; it almost always, inexorably, leads to another violation by the government – from one citizen’s right to privacy, to another’s right to know.

Our rights – and most especially our right- to -know – are amazingly dynamic in the protection they provide for citizens against the aggression of government. It is well worth everyone’s time and energy to make sure the right-to-know is adhered to from the lowest levels to the highest levels of government – it doesn’t matter your political leaning – unless of course you really don’t want freedom at all.

By Darrell Ehrlick/Daily Montanan

Reprinted from the Missoula Current

As America continues to scramble for more baby formula following a Michigan plant shutdown that hobbled the nation’s supply, a Montana manufacturer in Billings stood by, ready to ramp up production only to be stymied by federal red tape, and then watched the market welcome foreign products.

Jeff Golini is the owner and executive scientist at All American Pharmaceuticals. In addition to inventing and manufacturing a number of proprietary sports supplements and products, his company contracts with a number of other companies to manufacture products, including baby formula for export to China.

The facility with a substantial footprint in Billings Heights is FDA certified and approved. It’s even certified by the Chinese government for making products for that country. He has the required formulary the U.S. government mandates for baby and infant formula (baby formula is for 0 to 12 months, while infant formula is for children older than 12 months).

He had the information.

He had the capacity.

He holds a doctorate.

He only lacked the approval for manufacturing his own brand of formula while watching the FDA relax standards to allow importing foreign products under an emergency order.

Golini said that the U.S. government via the FDA has a strict set of rules for baby formula. Its formulary includes the minimum amounts of vitamins and minerals, as well as what ingredients can be included, for example, the percentages of protein that must be part of any mixture.

Think of it as a sort of recipe for baby formula without much room for deviation. Golini said he understands the rationale: Food made specifically for babies should be closely regulated and monitored, especially since their digestive and immune systems are not fully developed.

And that’s exactly why he was shocked to see the FDA in a May bulletin lower standards.

Following the FDA’s own set of guidelines, Golini proposed ramping up production of baby formula, but was stopped when he was told if he wanted to manufacture his own product, it would have to go through strict testing and trials, which could take months, if not years, and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

He has access to the raw ingredients, approval to manufacture, and can even make similar products for other companies, but he cannot produce and market it himself without a cascade of rules and testing.

A spokeswoman for the FDA confirmed that Golini is a qualified manufacturing facility and could not start production without testing. Last week, ABC News reported that Bubs Australia, Danone, Kendamil products continue to arrive in America for distribution under the “Operation Fly Formula” plan by the Biden administration.

Golini said it’s unfair that the federal government has relaxed rules for international companies while making it harder for domestic companies.

On the FDA website, which outlines the rules for importing formula, it said “infant or baby formula may be imported to the United States without prior sanction by the FDA as long as the facilities that produce store, or otherwise handle the products are registered with the FDA.”

All American Pharmaceuticals exceeds those requirements, and has even developed a formula recipe that uses the stringent FDA guidelines.

“They tell you what to make and exactly how to make it,” Golini said.

Golini’s plight has caught the attention of Sen. Steve Daines, Montana’s Republican senator. Golini told the Daily Montanan that Daines sent a letter to the FDA, advocating for All American pharmaceutical.

The Daily Montanan reached out to Daines’ office to find more information, but the office did not respond.

“Now that they’re importing it, they’re not checking the quality and that the formulas meet the USA’s standards that are coming from China or Europe – and they have lower standards,” Golini said. “We’ll have sick babies because we lowered them.”

Big pharma, big money

Golini said part of the problem is a limited number of large pharmaceutical companies who have cornered the market on domestic baby formula. He said the issue of shortages is more complex than just a plant in Michigan that had contaminated formula.

Instead, he said the shortage was on the horizon as early as February, long before shortages on the shelves of American stores.

He said that large formula manufacturers have blamed the problem on a limited number of facilities or shortages with the supply chain, but Golini said the raw products to make formula are available. And with all the formula being imported from far away places like New Zealand, he said the only shortage that exists is American infant formula.

Golini explained that American infant formula fetches a premium worldwide because of its quality and the cachet of being an American product. High demand in foreign markets like China means that large multi-national corporations that control most of the domestic market can often sell the formula for a higher price and more profits internationally.

“So this narrative of shortages is a façade – they’re selling all of the formula,” he said.

He suspects that smaller manufacturing facilities like his are being stymied by red tape, and regulations meant to reduce competition in a market that is not just captive, but one in which large corporations are enjoying greater profits by charging higher prices.

“I understand that if I develop something brand new, I need to do a study,” said Golini, who holds two patents for products he developed. “And I am reading that American companies need to step up. Well, that’s not working.”

A University of Montana director recently received the most prestigious award from a national association of regional economic research centers.

Patrick Barkey, director of UM’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research, received the Thayne Robson Award from the Association for University Business and Economic Research (AUBER). The award is the highest honor that AUBER awards to an individual for longtime commitment and service to the organization. Award winners must be economic and public policy leaders in their state.

Barkey is the past president of AUBER, has served as Secretary-Treasurer for more than a decade and has been a member of the organization’s board of directors.  “I am humbled to receive this honor, especially considering the outstanding AUBER leaders who have preceded me,” Barkey said.

“No one has been a stronger advocate of AUBER than Pat,” according to John Deskins, AUBER’s president and director of West Virginia’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research. “He has devoted years to working to make the community stronger, and we owe him so much for his dedicated service. He is a great asset to applied economics research centers nationwide.”

The Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER) will hold its mid-year economic update in Billings on August 2, 7-8:30 am, at the DoubleTree.

It has been an eventful year for the economy already. The torrid pace of economic growth of last year has given us surging inflation, very tight labor markets, and empty store shelves in 2022. And now the prospect of the Federal Reserve finally taking action against inflation to cool down growth has spooked financial markets and awakened recession fears. Are those fears overblown? These will be among the subjects discussed during its program, which will also be held in several other major Montana cities.

The event will feature Dr. Patrick Barkey, Director of the Bureau of Business and Economic Research since 2008 at the University of Montana. Dr. Barkey has been involved with economic forecasting and policy research for more than 30 years, in both the private and public sectors. Before coming to Montana he served as Director of the Bureau of Business Research at Ball State University in Indiana for fourteen years. His recent research has been on the economic impact of energy development, the property tax treatment of the telecommunications industry and the economic impact of trade with Canada.

Also among the speakers will be Simona Stan, Professor of marketing at the University of Montana. Since last year, she is also the Wilson Logistics Faculty Fellow. Stan has a Ph.D. in Marketing from the University of Missouri and a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Sibiu, Romania. She taught for five years at the University of Oregon. Prior to her academic life, she was a production engineer and manager in Romania. At UM, she teaches Logistics and Transportation and Global Supply Chain Management along with a selection of marketing courses at undergraduate and master level. Her current research interests are in global logistics and supply chains, sales, and services marketing.The program will be presented in Bozeman on August 2; Great Falls, August 3; Missoula, August 4; and Kalispell, August 4. For more information contact the BBER’s website

The fee to register a Limited Liability Companies (LLC) or a corporation in Montana has been reduced by the Montana Secretary of State Christi Jacobsen from $70 to $35. In 2021 the Secretary of State registered 29,000 new LLC’s.

The reason the fee can be reduced, said Jacobson, is “due to increased efficiencies in our office.”

Jacobsen stated that she wants businesses in Montana to know that they are supported and appreciated. She said that her office is looking forward “to seeing our record business growth continue for years to come.”

To register a business, go to Information is also availability regarding different kinds of business structures and what is required by government of each.

More than a third of small businesses can’t pay rent, newly released data shows.

The small business network Alignable released new survey results that found that 35% of U.S. small business owners “could not pay their rent in full or on time in June.”

“Most small business owners attribute this worsening situation to record-breaking inflation, which includes escalating gas, labor, and supply costs,” Alignable said. “Simply put, there’s less money available to pay the rent.”

According to the survey, rent increased for 48% of small businesses this month. Meanwhile, rent delinquencies have continued to increase all year.

“This is the highest rate of U.S. rent delinquency among SMBs this year,” the group said.

Another key factor hurting small businesses are gas prices, which hit record highs last month, averaging more than $5 per gallon for regular gas, before dipping down slightly. Diesel gas prices also hit record highs in June.

“Even more alarming, 63% of transportation SMBs couldn’t afford June rent, up 41% from May,” Alignable said. “It’s no shock to learn that 76% of this group said gas prices have had a ‘very significant’ negative effect on their businesses.”

Illinois and Texas lead the nation in rent delinquencies.

“States with the highest rent delinquency rates include: IL (44%), TX (44%), [and] NJ (39%),” Alignable said. “While they’re still high, rates dropped in MA, NY, FL and CA.” The report comes as other survey data show that soaring inflation is a top concern for small businesses. As The Center Square previously reported, the survey found 51% of small businesses fear that rising prices could “force them to close their businesses within the next six months.” In particular, restaurant owners are concerned with 72% saying they are worried.

That concern is not new. An April poll from NEXT Insurance reported that many small businesses have considering shutting down because of inflation.

“According to a new survey by NEXT Insurance, small business owners across the United States are frustrated and stressed about inflation and the state of the economy,” the group said. “More than one-third have considered shutting down in the last 12 months. As prices continue to rise and supply chains continue to falter, many small business owners have been forced to work longer hours, raise prices, and even cut their own salaries just to stay afloat, our survey found. And a majority of small business owners believe the pain isn’t over.”


CBRE 1st South LLC/ Lennick Bros. Roofing & Sheetmetal, 3050 1st Ave S, Com Fence/Roof/Siding, $9,500

Lee’s Development LLC/ Lees Construction & Development LLC, 1964 Home Valley Dr, Com New Other, $1,560,000

McCall Development/ McCall Development, 1686 St George Blvd, Com New Townhome Shell, $800,000

Target Corp T-1333, 403 Main St, Com Remodel $10,000

School District #2/ Empire Roofing Inc, 2201 St Johns Ave, Com Fence/Roof/Siding, $125,633  

School District No 2/ Empire Roofing Inc, 729 Parkhill Dr, Com Fence/Roof/Siding, $173,906  

School District #2/ Empire Roofing Inc, 3723 Central Ave, Com Fence/Roof/Siding, $230,767  

School District #2/ Empire Roofing Inc, 1441 Governors Blvd, Com Fence/Roof/Siding, $528,384

Bottrell Family Investments/ Jones Construction, 3545 Gabel Rd, Com New Other, $1,500,000

Sean Lynch/1111 Presents, 1625 2nd Ave N, Com New Other, $2,200,000

1111 Presents, Sean Lynch, 1625 2nd Ave N, Com New Other, $0.00

McCall Homes/ McCall Development, 1670 St George Blvd, Com New Townhome Shell, $800,000

Weber Properties LLC/ Jones Construction, Inc, 1180 S 29th St W, Com New Warehouse/Storage, $950,000

Rimrock Foundation/ Dick Anderson Construction, 1300 6th Ave N, Com Remodel, $500,000

Americo Real Estate Company/ Americo Real Estate Construction, 1515 Grand Ave, Com Remodel $100,000

Northern Plains Resource Counc, 220 S 27th St, Com Remodel, $20,000

Mojave Investments LLC/ Beartooth Holding & Construction, 525 Henry Chapple St, Com Remodel, $218,000


McCall Homes/ McCall Development, 1858 St Paul Ln, Res New Single Family, $153,014

Image Builders/ Doreen Manley, 4212 Creekwood Dr, Res New Single Family, $800,000

Had Construction/ Had Inc, 1936 Bonita Circle,  Res New Single Family, $276,349

Infinity Home LLC/ Infinity Home LLC, 1024 Beringer Way, Res New Single Family, $418,446

McCall Homes/ McCall Development, 1876 St Paul Ln, Res New Single Family, $257,002

Thompson, Josephine L/ Formation Inc, 920 Vineyard Cir, Res New Single Family, $407,347

McCall Development Inc/ McCall Development, 1936 Annas Garden Ln, Res New Single Family, $314,329

McCall Development/ McCall Development, 1690 St George Blvd, Res New Townhome, $0.00

McCall Development/ McCall Development, 1694 St George Blvd, Res New Townhome, $0.00

McCall Development/ McCall Development, 1686 St George Blvd, Res New Townhome, $0.00

McCall Development/ McCall Development, 1698 St George Blvd, Res New Townhome, $0.00

Blain, Bridger/ Elevated Home Crafters Inc, 555 Park Ln, Res New Accessory Structure, $25,000

McCall Homes/ McCall Development, 1686 St George Blvd, Res New Accessory Structure, $42,240

McCall Development/ McCall Development, 1694 St George Blvd, Res New Accessory Structure, $42,240

McCall Homes/ McCall Development, 1670 St George Blvd, Res New Accessory Structure, $42,240

McCall Development/ McCall Development, 1870 St Paul Ln, Res New Accessory Structure, $23,232

South Pine Design/ South Pine Design, 5217 Grass Mountain Rd, Res New Single Family, $400,000

Infinity Homes/ Infinity Home LLC, 866 El Rancho Dr, Res New Single Family, $237,278

4 Mt Homes Inc/ 4 Mt Homes Inc, 945 El Rancho Dr, Res New Single Family, $207,920

Parks, Trent & Kaycee/Billings Best Builders, 2259 Gleneagles Blvd, Res New Single Family, $0.00

McCall Development/ McCall Development, 1864 St Paul Ln, Res New Single Family, $224,474

McCall Homes/McCall Development, 6158 Johanns Meadow Ln, Res New Single Family, $283,672

McCall Development/ McCall Development, 1870 St Paul Ln, Res New Single Family, $220,75

McCall Development Inc/ McCall Development, 6099 Northstead Ave, Res New Townhome $0.00

McCall Development Inc/ McCall Development, 6099 Northstead Ave, Res New Townhome, $0.00

McCall Development Inc/ McCall Development, 6099 Northstead Ave, Res New Townhome, $0.00

McCall Development Inc/ McCall Development, 6105 Northstead Ave, Res New Townhome, $0.00

McCall Development Inc/ McCall Development 6107 Northstead Ave, Res New Townhome $0.00

McCall Development Inc/ McCall Development, 6099 Northstead Ave, Res New Townhome, $0.00

McCall Homes/McCall Development, 1670 St. George, Res New Townhome $0.00

McCall Homes/ McCall Development, 1674 St George, Res New Townhome $0.00

McCall Homes/ McCall Development, 1678 St George, Res New Townhome, $0.00

McCall Homes/ McCall Development, 1682 St George, Res New Townhome, $0.00

By Aikta Marcoulier, SBA Region Eight Administrator

During July, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will kick off its Build America, Buy American month of action to highlight the administration’s commitments to America’s small businesses, entrepreneurs, and startups and highlight the benefits of the president’s bipartisan infrastructure law that will create opportunities for small manufacturers and contractors.

As Montana and the nation recovers from the pandemic, and supply chain issues, the federal government must begin to level the playing field for small manufacturing firms wanting to scale up, expand, and compete globally.  As I visit local communities throughout the Rocky Mountain region, I am seeing more jobs, more hope, and something else more important: the rebirth of pride that comes from buying American.

Montana is a hub for small manufacturers. One example is Hi Country Snack Foods, which is based in Lincoln. Hi Country is the largest employer in the county employing 50 full time people. The business started as a beef jerky company forty years ago, but under the ownership of Travis Byerly the business has expanded into new products lines including a variety of flavored jerky, and specialty seasonings.  Byerly also operates the Hi-Country Trading Post which is packed full of made in Montana products.

The SBA’s mission is to assure there is an equitable federal procurement strategy that prioritizes small, disadvantaged businesses which will increase competition and rebuild our economy from the bottom up and the middle out. The SBA is collaborating with an array of federal agencies to take “shopping small” to a whole new level by transforming how the U.S. government-the world’s largest buyer-spends more than $560 billion of America’s tax dollars on goods and services each year.

To assist businesses with planning, strategy, and contracting, the SBA has various partners including local Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACS) to assist small businesses. President Biden laid out his vision to open more doors to federal contracting with an ambitious goal: Increase the share going to small, and disadvantaged businesses by 50 percent by 2025. Buying from small, and disadvantaged businesses will leverage the federal government’s purchasing power to reestablish domestic supply chains and American made products – using market growth opportunities to strengthen our nation’s industrial base.

Included in these reforms is an effort to make certain that “category management,” a government-wide initiative to strategically source commonly purchased goods and services, does not shut out small businesses. We want to make it easier for more small businesses owned by people of color, women, and veterans, to do business with the federal government. The administration has directed over 40,000 federal contracting officers across government to spend tens of billions of dollars more with small, disadvantaged businesses.

The  Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act’s $1.2 trillion created an enormous opportunity for small construction and service firms.  The SBA stands ready to support these businesses with bonding capacity, access to capital, and the ability to subcontract with large businesses to get their fair share of the contracting pie. We must ensure all taxpayer dollars are being used to fortify entrepreneurship, innovation, and domestic supply chains, and in the process strengthen our democracy by creating equitable pathways to the American dream.

The Montana Petroleum Association will hold its annual meeting in Billings on August 30 and 31, at the DoubleTree Hotel. This year the event will feature Bruce Larsen, President and Chief Executive of Kraken Resources, as speaker at the annual Petroleum Industry Appreciation Day Luncheon, to which the public is invited.

Larsen has 20 years of oil and gas exploration and production experience specializing in business development, resource identification, geologic modeling, and operational geology. Before forming Kraken, Larsen was Executive Vice President of Ursa Resources Group LLC, where he led the company’s Williston Basin entry, developed the company’s Bakken Shale geologic model, and oversaw leasing of 120,000 net acres. Prior to Ursa, Larsen worked at Legend Natural Gas where he evaluated acquisition opportunities in nearly every onshore U.S. basin.

The Appreciation Day Luncheon will be on Wednesday, August 31 from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm. following a forenoon program of presenters and panel discussions about the status of the industry.

The event also includes a golfing and a barbecue dinner at the Pryor Creek Golf Course on Aug. 31.

For more information and costs contact .