Posted January 4, 2017
The Twitter-sphere did a good job reflecting many of the key messages from API’s annual State of American Energy event in Washington.
Start with the fact that America’s oil and natural gas companies are driving the U.S. economy with increased production and refining operations:
There were reminders of the energy sector’s potential for putting millions of Americans to work:
A dominant theme was the need for industry, government and others to work together to benefit U.S. consumers:
Collaboration is important to capture a vision of what's best for the American people. #SOAE2017— Paula Glover (@PRJackson) January 4, 2017
Others: pragmatic solution-finding, transcending partisanship in Washington, the American public’s support for robust domestic energy production. And more, all emanating from API’s annual report (see also the report’s pullout infographic) and in keynote remarks by API President and CEO Jack Gerard. (Click here for event archived video.)
Gerard underscored the basic need of a modern society for secure, reliable energy:
“Energy is fundamental to our society. From the electricity that lights our homes and powers our appliances, to the fuel that keeps our vehicles running, to the chemicals that make modern medicine possible – the (API) report demonstrates the countless ways energy is essential to modern society, with oil and natural gas as the foundation.”
Securing that energy in a safe and responsible manner is industry’s primary goal. Thanks to domestic production that has made the United States the world’s leading oil and natural gas producer, its modern refining capacity and a vast infrastructure network, Americans are realizing energy cost savings, U.S. manufacturers are more competitive globally and our country has a growing opportunity to export affordable and abundant energy to help improve the standard of living for millions around the world. Gerard:
“We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to find solutions for many of today’s most pressing issues, including creating middle class jobs, tackling income inequality, ensuring sustained affordable energy for consumers and enhancing our national security. … Today, many of the planet’s most vulnerable people lack access to clean, affordable and reliable energy. The International Energy Agency estimates that more than 1.2 billion people around the world currently lack access to electricity. Further, 2.6 billion live with inadequate cooking facilities, which lead to, among other things, chronic health issues. Abundant and affordable American natural gas will be key to providing access to a reliable and cleaner burning fuel to cook their meals and heat their homes.”
Gerard said the U.S. has been transformed from a “passive consumer on the world energy stage to a leader in only a decade’s time.” America’s energy success has included emissions reductions from electricity generation, disproving an old assumption that energy and economic growth must be accompanied by a dirtier environment. Largely due to increased use of cleaner-burning natural gas, much of it produced from shale with hydraulic fracturing, carbon emissions from power generation during the first six months of 2016 were at their lowest point in 25 years.
Going forward, America’s energy renaissance will be helped by a commonsense approach to regulation and an increased focus in Washington on making American energy work for Americans. Gerard:
“We must reexamine the regulatory onslaught of the last few years that has proposed or imposed some 145 regulations and other executive actions on our industry and instead work to implement smart energy regulations that are focused on the consumer, help to grow our economy, protect workers and continue to improve the environment. It is our view that regulations that do not align with those basic and commonsense goals should be reexamined, revised or removed to make way for smarter and forward-looking energy policies.”
Americans support this approach. Election-night polling showed voters believe more domestic oil and natural gas production will boost the economy and strengthen U.S. energy security. There’s strong backing for infrastructure development and a national energy policy.
Energy and the need to secure it for America’s future is the means to close Washington’s partisan divide. Gerard:
“Few other issues enjoy energy’s level of bipartisan support, and energy remains one of the few that bridge the ideological divide between Democrats and Republicans. Our goal is to broaden that common consensus to spur our lawmakers to harness the American voters’ embrace of energy policies that drive economic growth, lower consumer costs, continue current environmental improvement, increase American competitiveness and provide our allies with a reliable partner that uses its considerable energy resources as a way to lift people up.”
Ultimately, as Gerard noted, oil and natural gas are key to Americans’ modern way of life, which makes the energy conversation vitally important:
“Ultimately, the very foundational nature of oil and natural gas as a source of electricity, fuel and feedstock for everyday products makes the national energy policy discussion more than a collection of abstract policy positions. It makes it a discussion about what’s best for American workers, consumers, families and environment; truly energy is everything. As we look to the future, the oil and natural gas industry stands ready to offer solutions that help meet the energy needs of our nation and the world and to work with elected leaders at all levels of government to ensure that the American consumer continues to benefit from affordable and reliable domestic energy.”
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.