The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

An Energy-Embracing Executive Order

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted March 28, 2017

A couple of important points may be drawn from President Trump’s “Energy Independence” executive order, and both stem from the new administration’s embrace of the ongoing U.S. energy renaissance.

The first is that energy policy from Washington should foster continued safe oil and natural gas development and allow its responsible expansion, so that the country sees job creation, economic growth and increased security. Second, common-sense regulation and more efficient oversight support a competitive U.S. energy industry – that reasonable regulation and streamlined permitting will help create the climate for energy investment that America needs. API President and CEO Jack Gerard:

“Today’s action by President Trump is an important step toward increasing American competitiveness and recognizing that our industry is part of the solution to advancing U.S. economic and national security goals. Smart, common sense and science-based guidance and regulations will help our nation’s energy renaissance continue to provide benefits for American consumers, workers and the environment.”

The new executive order sets an overall policy course for safe energy development, while avoiding unnecessary regulation hindering that development:

It is in the national interest to promote clean and safe development of our Nation's vast energy resources, while at the same time avoiding regulatory burdens that unnecessarily encumber energy production, constrain economic growth, and prevent job creation.  Moreover, the prudent development of these natural resources is essential to ensuring the Nation's geopolitical security.

Bottom line to the executive order: Portions of the regulatory landscape left by the previous administration placed unnecessary obstacles in the path of U.S. energy development. And we’ll add this: Significant progress already has been made in reducing emissions of carbon dioxide in power generation and methane in energy production.

For example, one piece of the president’s new executive order has EPA starting the process of review and potential rescission of the Clean Power Plan (CPP), which is a command-and-control approach to reducing carbon emissions. Yet, market-driven innovations and fuel choices, increasing the use of cleaner-burning natural gas for electricity generation, have driven U.S. carbon emissions to their lowest point in 25 years. Abundant and affordable natural gas, developed with hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, is key to market-driven CO2 emissions reductions and consumer benefits -- with or without the CPP.

Another example is the executive order’s call for review and potential rescission of the most recent initiatives to further regulate emissions from oil and natural gas production. These efforts appeared to miss emissions progress made by industry – which wants to capture as much methane as possible for customers -- and the benefits of EPA and state regulations. EPA’s recent draft inventory of greenhouse gas emissions (1990-2015) showed methane emissions from natural gas systems are down 18.6 percent since 1990, and emissions from petroleum systems are down 28.8 percent -- without these recent regulations.

The larger point is that significant environmental and climate progress is occurring during a period of domestic energy growth, and that sensible regulation and management of public resources will help advance both into the future. It’s clear the new administration recognizes the benefits of America’s energy resurgence. President Trump:

“The action I’m taking today will eliminate federal overreach, restore economic freedom and allow our companies and our workers to thrive, compete and succeed on a level playing field for the first time in a long time. … With today’s executive action I’m taking historic steps to lift the restrictions on American energy, to reverse government intrusion and to cancel job-killing regulations. … Together we are going to start a new energy revolution, one that celebrates American production on American soil. … We will unlock job-producing natural gas, oil and shale energy.”

The new executive order signals – as have other administration actions – that there’s a new view of U.S. energy and the country’s infrastructure needs now holding sway in Washington. It’s one that sees America’s energy wealth as a positive force for domestic prosperity and environmental progress, as well as one that strengthens the United States in the world. Gerard:

“We look forward to working with the Trump administration and Congress on forward-looking energy policies that will help ensure the United States continues leading the world in the production and refining of oil and natural gas, and in the reduction of carbon emissions.”


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.