The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Energy, Policy and America’s Future

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted September 26, 2016

Looking to the presidential debates, we’re very interested to see how the candidates handle energy questions should they come up and, similarly, how the candidates may link energy to some of the high-profile issues everyone is talking about: the economy, jobs, U.S. security. Certainly, energy is foundational to all of these and more.

smallestAnd, as we noted last week, questions and answers about energy and energy policy aren’t just for the presidential discussion. They figure into Americans’ votes at all levels all over the country. Jack Gerard, API president and CEO, talked about the stakes for U.S. energy in this campaign season and beyond during a conference call with reporters. You can read his prepared remarks below.

But here’s a piece of the conversation in which Gerard talks about the need for policymakers and would-be policymakers to acknowledge the role of the ongoing U.S. energy renaissance in supporting and expanding individual Americans’ prosperity and opportunity:

“What we’d like to hear is a clear acknowledgement that natural gas is a key part of a national, American energy policy. We’ve been blessed with a rich abundance of it, even to the point now where we could … export it. Which is another great opportunity, creating American jobs, putting our people to work, while also providing others around the world the benefits of cleaner-burning natural gas. Every American family now saves over $1,300 a year in their energy costs. Much of that is driven by the lower costs of natural gas, because we have a vast supply of it, therefore it benefits all consumers.”

More Gerard:

“When you look at some of what we might call social issues that often get talked about – poverty questions, income inequality questions … if we’re really interested in giving people an affordable, quality standard of life, lowering their costs such as their energy costs, which everybody needs to get around and heat and cool their homes, is a very positive thing. An acknowledgement that natural gas is a driver in that, brought to you by hydraulic fracturing here in the United States with a rich abundance, would be a great step forward by both parties, Democrats and Republicans saying, you know what, we’ve got a great American blessing here we need to take advantage of.”

Click here for a list of energy questions Americans should ask of all their candidates, up and down the ballot this year. When you think about energy’s tie-in to our economy, prosperity, the environment and security, we should all be energy voters. Below, Gerard’s prepared remarks from today’s teleconference with reporters.

Tonight’s first presidential debate is set to focus on Securing America, Achieving Prosperity, and America’s Direction.

We believe that you can’t have a conversation about any of these topics without including the U.S. energy sector and, in particular, U.S. oil and natural gas.

It’s why we’ve been running a Vote4Energy campaign this year: to talk to voters about why they should insist politicians running for office take a stand on our energy future.

When it comes to Securing America, U.S. status as the world’s leading oil and natural gas producer is a game-changer. With steady U.S. supply adding stability to world markets, the influence of less stable regions on fuel costs is diminished. Petroleum consumption derived from imports in 2015 reached its lowest level since 1970. American energy abundance also strengthens our ability to export oil and natural gas to our allies, enhancing their security by lessening dependence on nations that use energy as a political weapon.

Voters identify the economy and jobs as their top election concern, and the American energy revolution’s role in economic growth should ensure that it’s a focus in tonight’s discussion on Achieving Prosperity. Last year American drivers saved, on average, over $550 on transportation fuel costs, along with significant savings on home heating and electricity costs. When lower product costs and other savings are factored in, Americans households have an extra $1337 per year in the bank due to shale energy production. Those are major savings that have a real impact for family budgets.

Power and materials costs are also down for producers of steel, chemicals, plastics and other products, contributing to a 10 to 20 percent reduction in American manufacturing costs compared to foreign competitors. That makes a host of products more affordable, and it brings jobs back. Studies project shale energy development can generate 3.9 million jobs by 2025, including manufacturing jobs, as well as energy jobs that pay almost double the national average salary.

America’s world-leading refining industry supports over 1.2 million jobs while producing fuels that keep the economy moving and creating feedstocks essential for manufacturing. Building the infrastructure required to keep pace with America’s 21st century reality creates shovel-ready jobs for construction workers. Any discussion about income inequality and economic challenges facing middle class families will be incomplete without an acknowledgment of energy solutions.

Lastly, American Direction. Right track/wrong track poll numbers may be historically underwater, but one bright spot for American Direction is our status as the world leader in both production of oil and natural gas and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions like carbon, which are near 20-year lows due largely to use of clean-burning natural gas.

Our nation’s leadership on these critical issues happened through American ingenuity, American innovation, and free markets. If the president’s 2008 campaign message was “Yes, we can,” America’s oil and natural gas industry in 2016 can say “Yes, we did.”  And the effects of our energy revolution extend far beyond the industry.

Tremendous progress has been made, progress that must not be squandered.  In 2015 oil and natural gas provided the bulk of America’s energy, and, according to government and private projections, will continue to do so for decades to come.  There is a lot of work to be done, and our companies are ready through investment and innovation to do it.

Whatever the outcome tonight, the American people have already cast their ballot for energy. Seventy-seven percent of voters support increased production of U.S. oil and natural gas. Eighty-two percent support increased infrastructure development, which keeps affordable energy moving to homes and businesses, and could generate $1.14 trillion in capital investments and support as many as 1.15 million jobs.

Voters recognize that American energy is the catalyst to a secure and prosperous nation. Tonight, we’ll see if the candidates agree.


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.