The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Campaign ’16: Energy is the Question

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted September 23, 2016

All eyes are on the presidential candidates’ first head-to-head debate scheduled Monday night, which many believe will be a lively affair. We’re not sure if specific energy issues will come up, but even if energy isn’t mentioned by name, the need for secure, reliable, affordable energy pervades a host of issues likely to dominate the debate – much as they’ve been central to discussions around the country involving races up and down the ballot – issues such as economic revival and strength, jobs, U.S. security in the world and others, including progress on climate.

The United States is the world’s leading producer of oil and natural gas, the result of an American energy renaissance powered largely by private investment and safe and responsible hydraulic fracturing. It’s bolstering the economy, strengthening our security, improving our trading posture and providing new opportunities to aid allies abroad.

At the same time, increased use of cleaner-burning natural gas developed with fracking is the primary reason the United States leads the world in reducing energy-related carbon emissions, lowering them to levels not seen in more than 20 years. The “U.S. model” of simultaneous economic and energy growth and emissions reduction shows that climate progress is possible without sacrificing the economy and/or lowering Americans’ standard of living.

So, as Campaign 2016 barrels into the home stretch, all Americans should be energy voters because secure energy is fundamental in all our lives and to the future of our country. We’ve compiled a list of key energy questions every voter should ask of their candidates for office:

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As you can see, these focus on U.S. energy development, now and in the years to come, support for safe hydraulic fracturing that is driving America’s energy resurgence, the game-changing role natural gas is playing in reducing emissions and more. These all point to the kind of energy path America should take – one that fully harnesses our country’s vast energy wealth. API President and CEO Jack Gerard:

“The goal of a national energy policy must be to ensure a secure supply of abundant, affordable, and available energy for the American people in an environmentally responsible manner.”

Energy policy and visionary leadership are critically important to our nation’s future and Americans’ individual prosperity, which is the context for choices Americans will make at the ballot box less than two months from now.

Candidates have an obligation to listen to the American people – and they’re speaking loudly on energy. Some highlights from polling earlier this year:

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 A strong, bipartisan majority of registered voters recognize America’s energy opportunity, broadly supporting increased oil and natural gas development. The overall result includes support from 94 percent of Republicans, 73 percent of Independents and 64 percent of Democrats.

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By an overwhelming margin, voters see increased access to domestic reserves as fundamentally supporting American energy security. The bipartisan result includes 94 percent of Republicans, 87 percent of Independents and 77 percent of Democrats. Separately, 80 percent agree that increased access could help lower energy costs for consumers, 81 percent agree increased access to oil and gas reserves could help stimulate the economy and 85 percent agree increased energy access could lead to more U.S. jobs.

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More than eight in 10 Americans believe the U.S. should build more energy infrastructure, including important pipelines to deliver oil and natural gas around the country, spreading the benefits of American energy to all parts of the nation. The result includes 88 percent of Republicans and Independents and 74 percent of Democrats.

One more polling highlight. A bipartisan majority of registered voters say energy matters in the casting of their vote this year:

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The questions above – and certainly the answers elicited by them – matter to voters. Americans are engaged. They understand the American moment, the opportunity, provided by American energy – as well as the important role they’re about to play in determining America’s future energy path.

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.