We have a responsibility to our diverse stakeholder groups to participate in public policy discussions about issues that affect our business and the economy, such as taxation, regulation, trade and jobs.
Our economy runs on energy and depends on consumer products made of plastics, fabrics and other compounds derived from oil and natural gas. As a leading U.S. independent oil and natural gas producer, Devon is keenly aware of our place in this economy.
We actively advocate on matters of public interest and are committed to doing so in compliance with all applicable laws, regulations and rules. In addition to making all required financial disclosures, we responded to shareholder feedback by publishing our first comprehensive Political Activity and Lobbying Report in March 2018. We will publish such a report annually to make it easier for stakeholders to see our expenditures for corporate political contributions, 527 contributions, federal and state lobbying, and the Devon Energy Corporation Political Action Committee (DECPAC).
At all levels of government, important decisions about energy and the economy require good information and honest consideration. We inform and engage policymakers, the public and our employees as we advocate for principles and positions in the legislative and regulatory process. Devon participates in business and industry associations, trade groups and advocacy organizations to make our views known on a variety of proposed rules and laws. We also provide our employees with information and perspective to discuss industry issues with their friends and neighbors, and encourage them to participate in the electoral process.
Devon is active in the development of public policy. In 2017, we engaged with the federal Bureau of Land Management on its methane rule, with the Oklahoma Governor’s Coordinating Council on Seismic Activity, and with the state of New Mexico on its methane emissions regulatory framework.
Step Up Oklahoma
Perhaps our most important political activity is focused not on business, but on our community and our neighbors. For example, in 2017 Devon participated with business, civic and community leaders that formed StepUp Oklahoma, a nonpartisan group seeking to resolve the state’s short-term budget crisis and achieve long-term reforms of government operations. The bold proposal would generate $800 million in new revenue in the first full year to fund teacher pay increases, statewide health care programs and other core state services. More than $130 million of the new revenue would come from higher oil and natural gas production taxes. We supported the reforms and revenue measures, and as we encouraged our peers, neighbors, families and friends to do the same, we heard new conversations about our state’s financial and operational problems and how best to fix them.
Another example of our commitment to our community is our active support of Metropolitan Area Projects (MAPS), a visionary capital improvement program that has sparked the revitalization of our hometown, Oklahoma City. Devon was among the first local businesses to support sales tax-funded construction and upgrades to the city’s cultural, sports, recreation, entertainment, education and convention facilities. Since the first MAPS election in 1993, Oklahoma City has seen more than $5 billion in new public and private investment throughout the city. And 25 years later, the projects keep coming, with MAPS 3 bringing a new 70-acre downtown park, new convention center and hotel complex, modern transit, and more than 50 miles of biking and walking trails.
We’re also proud that the construction of our corporate headquarters, Devon Energy Center, was the catalyst in a downtown Oklahoma City modernization and improvement initiative now nearing completion. In Project 180, we encouraged city leaders to reinvest the proceeds from the tax-increment finance district created through the construction of our 50-story tower to improve downtown public space. We’re getting new streets, walkways, bike lanes, parks and plazas encompassing eight miles of roadway and 220 acres of the city’s central business district. The streets’ clean appearance and functional nature are attracting new economic development and vitality to the center of the city. More than 2,500 new shade trees, high-efficiency LED lights, site furnishings and underground utilities are installed in an amenity zone behind the curb, buffering sidewalks from traffic and making downtown a welcoming space for residents and visitors alike.