Posted January 26, 2017
The first 100 days of a new presidential administration present an opportunity to establish priorities that will guide government policy for the next four years. Maintaining and strengthening the U.S. advantage as the world’s leading producer and refiner of oil and natural gas should be a top focus – not only for our energy security but for the economic, national security and environmental benefits oil and natural gas reliably provide.
The American people have a firm understanding of the importance of oil and natural gas. Recent survey results reveal that more than 80 percent of voters agree that U.S. oil and natural gas production can help achieve each of their most important priorities: job creation, economic growth, lower energy costs and energy security.
With drivers saving more than $550 in fuel costs and families saving $1,337 due to utility and other energy-related savings in 2015, it should come as no surprise that voters appreciate the positive economic impact of abundant and affordable U.S. energy. Americans not only recognize the benefits of the U.S. energy renaissance but also support policies to build on our position as the world’s leading oil and natural gas producer and refiner.
Eighty percent of voters support increased development of U.S. oil and natural gas resources including 71 percent of Democrats, 94 percent of Republicans and 76 percent of Independents. Eighty-one percent support increased development of the country’s energy infrastructure, such as pipelines, the poll found. On the other hand, 75 percent expressed concern about government requirements to increase the amount of ethanol in gasoline. And 72 percent oppose higher taxes that could decrease investment in energy production and reduce energy development, including 62 percent of Democrats, 70 percent of Independents and 86 percent of Republicans.
As a candidate, President Trump pledged to pursue an energy approach that would include “opening federal lands for oil and gas production, opening offshore areas, and revoking policies that are imposing unnecessary restrictions on innovative new exploration technologies.” Polling confirms that such forward-leaning energy policies will have strong voter support.
The Obama administration proposed 145 new regulations or other policy-setting actions on the oil and natural gas industry that could discourage production and refining, so reviewing our regulatory policies and process should be a top priority. A combination of industry innovation, market forces and existing standards have proven effective for keeping hydraulic fracturing safe and reducing emissions of ozone, methane and carbon. In fact, the United States leads the world in reduction of carbon emissions, with clean-burning natural gas driving emissions in the power sector to 25-year lows.
And we achieved that success while leading the world in oil and natural gas production, which has created good-paying energy jobs, helped cut manufacturing costs and spurred small business activity throughout the nation. Our success demonstrates that a market-based, consumer-focused regulatory approach is the right one.
President Trump has also vowed to rebuild U.S. infrastructure. Building the pipelines and other energy infrastructure we need to keep pace with 21st century energy production could create more than 1 million shovel-ready jobs that don’t rely on taxpayer funding. Oil and natural gas pipelines transport energy at a 99.999 percent safety rate, and investing in additional energy infrastructure will ensure we can continue to deliver affordable energy to homes and businesses throughout the nation.
One final poll result captures the kind of energy strategy Americans expect and deserve. Seventy-two percent of voters say they support a national energy policy that ensures a secure supply of abundant, affordable and available energy for the American people in an environmentally responsible manner. That description serves both as a good summary of what the American energy revolution is accomplishing and as a guiding principle for the new administration’s energy policy.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jack N. Gerard is president and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute (API), the national trade association that represents all aspects of America’s oil and natural gas industry. He also has served as the president and CEO of trade associations representing the chemical and mining industries. Jack understands how Washington works. He spent several years working in the U.S. Senate and House, and co-founded a Washington-based government relations consulting firm. A native of Idaho, Jack also is very active in the Boy Scouts of America, a university graduate program on politics, and his church’s leadership. He and his wife are the proud parents of eight children, including twin boys adopted from Guatemala.