Posted November 5, 2014
As the political parties sort through the results of this week’s mid-term congressional elections, let’s hope neither misses the unmistakable, bipartisan support from the American people for the ongoing energy revolution in this country. In their votes and in data from new election-night public opinion polling, it’s clear Americans see energy policy as a uniting point that can help break Washington gridlock while continuing to revitalize the country’s economy.
These topics and more came up during a conference call API President and CEO Jack Gerard conducted with reporters in the election’s aftermath. According to Gerard, the overarching lesson from Tuesday’s vote: Energy wins. Gerard:
“We need elected leaders who understand what’s at stake and who are willing to set aside outdated assumptions and partisan talking points to work together on safe, responsible and fact-based energy policy. In that regard, we hope that President Obama will take this opportunity to work with the new Congress on smart energy policies that grow our nation’s still shaky economy, create well-paying jobs and maintain our nation’s global energy leadership.”
New election night polling with actual voters conducted by Harris Interactive underscores the point:
- 66 percent said that looking ahead to the 2016 election they’re more likely to support a candidate who supports producing more oil and natural gas here in the U.S.
- 90 percent agree that increased production of domestic oil and natural gas could lead to more U.S. jobs.
- 86 percent recognize increased domestic oil and natural gas production stimulates the economy – and boosting the economy was their No. 1 issue.
- 72 percent support building the Keystone XL pipeline, which Gerard called “one of the most studied, debated and needlessly delayed infrastructure projects of our time.” Keystone XL drew broad bipartisan support: 58 percent of Democrats and 91 percent of Republicans.
“In the 2014 election cycle, energy was the clear winner. In race after race, voters from all regions of our nation and from both political parties voted for pro-development, true all-of-the-above energy policies. That level of agreement during one of the most hard-fought and divisive election cycles in recent memory is a direct result of the job creation, economic growth and positive environmental performance that are part of America’s 21st century energy renaissance, which is led by the oil and natural gas industry. … Most candidates have gotten the message on energy issues generally and Keystone XL, specifically. And that’s because they have heard from voters on these key, important energy issues.”
Gerard challenged the new Congress to make good on energy promises made during the campaign to enact a pro-energy, pro-growth agenda that includes pushing for approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, expanding access to domestic oil and natural gas reserves, reforming the flawed Renewable Fuel Standard, and reining in “duplicative and unnecessary” regulations rejected by voters because they “threaten our energy renaissance and harm our economy.”
President Obama’s non-decision decision on the Keystone XL pipeline is delaying the creation of more than 42,000 jobs and the infusion of more than $2 billion into the pockets of workers during the pipeline’s two-year construction phase. Gerard:
“With Keystone, we’re 10 years and a few smart policy choices away from the ability to supply 100 percent of our liquid fuel needs from stable sources right here in North America. … My counsel to all players at this point is, this is a no-brainer, it’s been needlessly delayed for many years, unfortunately, and after five comprehensive environmental reviews, it’s just time to move on. … This is really low-hanging fruit that the Congress and the White House should come together on and show that we really can lead, we really can legislate, we can do something in the interests of the American public. The Keystone would be a quick political win for both political parties.”
Access means cutting through regulatory and red-tape delays that have worked to decrease oil and natural gas production in federal areas, onshore and offshore – even as production on private and state lands has increased, Gerard said – a discrepancy that’s due to “political science, not geologic science.”
Americans are ready for action from their leaders in Washington, and there’s no better opportunity than the one that’s being provided by the U.S. energy revolution. Gerard said the election has cautions for politicians who don’t harness the opportunity:
“Generally, the public is tired of the gridlock. The public … sees this unique American opportunity and they want their elected leaders to get about it, to take advantage of it, to get over the partisan bickering and to really lead. … The American public is not going to tolerate political leaders who stand in the way of this unique American opportunity.”
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.