The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

U.S. Energy Revolution Missing in State of the Union

Jack Gerard

Jack Gerard
Posted January 21, 2016

It’s become a State of the Union tradition: President Obama touts the benefits of oil and natural gas production without identifying the American energy revolution as their source. This year, the president implied that government investments in wind and solar are the reason the United States has “cut our imports of foreign oil by nearly 60 percent, and cut carbon pollution more than any other country on Earth.”

“Gas under two bucks a gallon ain’t bad, either,” he continued.

The New York Times was quick with a rebuttal, writing: “Private oil and gas companies, however, were a driving force behind the most important changes in the United States’ energy landscape over the past seven years: lower fossil fuel emissions and a reduction in dependence on imported oil. … A glut of domestic oil has helped lower prices and imports. The new supply of domestic natural gas has helped lower greenhouse gas emissions. Electric utilities have traditionally relied on coal as the cheapest fuel source, but turned to natural gas as it became cheaper.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. In fact, that’s pretty much the definition of what we’ve been calling the U.S. model – the combination of market forces that have lowered emissions and consumer costs while increasing oil and natural gas production, not to mention economic growth. All without government mandates.

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Just as those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it, those who don’t recognize the contributions of the American energy revolution are likely to undermine it. The assumption that energy production and emissions reductions are mutually exclusive has been rendered obsolete by the facts, and policies based on this flawed idea could damage the economy and harm consumers.

The American energy resurgence has created jobs, generated economic growth and government revenue, driven significant emissions reductions, slashed energy costs and enhanced our security. Leaving this reality out of a speech is one thing, but ignoring it in policy development is a serious mistake.

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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.