The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Hearing the Voters on Energy

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted June 21, 2016

There’s a reason pro-energy messages and objectives enjoy overwhelming support from the American people: Americans recognize that domestic energy production is nonpartisan and that it leads to prosperity throughout the land.

In this election year, the key is getting the folks running for office at all levels to get onboard with the voting public, for them to hear the strong pro-energy message voters are sending – seen in a new Harris Poll released at this week’s “Energy and the Election” event. API President and CEO Jack Gerard:

smaller“Broadly, the poll makes clear that when it comes to energy, what matters to most Americans is a reliable and affordable supply of energy. … There are few other public policy areas where strong bipartisan majorities agree on a path forward. What this makes clear is that the American people want and expect a national energy policy that protects the gains we’ve made in energy security, abundance and global leadership. That’s why during this election season and beyond we are promoting our candidate, energy, which a majority of Americans clearly support.”

Indeed, Harris finds that nearly eight in 10 registered voters support increased production of oil and natural gas here at home:

support


They do so for a range of economic, security and opportunity reasons:

  • 81 percent say increased access to oil and natural gas could stimulate the economy
  • 85 percent say increased access to oil and natural gas could create jobs
  • 80 percent agree that increased access to domestic oil and natural gas could help lower energy costs for American consumers:

access

Look at the party breakdown in the graphic above. The belief in access to (and production of) American oil and natural gas, as a catalyst to lower consumer energy costs, is strongly bipartisan. Gerard:

“The need for affordable, reliable and abundant energy isn’t a Democrat, Independent or Republican issue. Energy security and global energy security are not Red State, Blue State issues. Energy is an American prosperity, economic growth and opportunity issue that deserves thoughtful debate based on reason, not overheated rhetoric and unworkable slogans. It is our view, and that of a majority of voters, that our nation’s energy policy discussion should be an exchange of common sense ideas rooted in reality and based on the inescapable fact that we will need more energy from all sources to meet our energy needs for decades far into the future.”

There’s a clear, fundamental message to this year’s candidates for public office: The American energy revolution has helped individual households, lifted the economy and increased U.S. security – and is the chief reason the United States leads the world in reducing carbon emissions.

The message from voters is simple: Let’s seize the opportunity. As a nation, let’s capitalize our domestic energy wealth with increased access to reserves for safe and responsible development of the energy that plays the leading role in powering our economy and supporting our modern way of life. Let’s build on an energy revolution created by American entrepreneurialism and technological innovations fostered by government and the private sector. Gerard:

“[T]his nation has achieved something no other nation on earth has accomplished so far: increasing energy production, a growing economy, albeit slowly, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions to near 20-year lows. This achievement, which we refer to as the U.S. model, serves as a real-world reminder of what this nation’s entrepreneurial spirit, unique system of government and private sector driven innovation and expertise can accomplish.”

Markets, not government mandates, should direct our country’s energy policy path, Gerard said. Any energy policy or regulatory proposal should be measured like this, he said: Will it make energy more affordable, is it better for the environment, does it grow the economy, does it make American more secure?

One more data point from Harris – and, again, you can delve into all of the findings here – and that’s how energy could factor into voting-booth decisions come November. Sixty-nine percent of registered voters say they’re more likely to support candidates who want to produce more oil and natural gas here in the U.S.

That’s likely because they sense that energy is a key rallying point for America. In the fractious realm of U.S. politics, producing more American-made energy is a place for consensus building, for bipartisan agreement. The American people are there already, in numbers that compel policymakers to join them. They understand what’s at stake in choosing the right energy course. Gerard:

“If we are to continue our nation’s current positive energy production trends and environmental gains, we must demand that those who act on our behalf, at all levels of government, implement energy policies that promote a brighter, better American energy future based on market-driven principles and our potential as a global energy leader. Our shared goal should be to create a new American understanding of energy – and with it a national energy policy – based on science, the free market and entrepreneurial spirit because energy is too important and fundamental to our way of life for anything less than our collective best efforts to that end.”


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.