More discussion of energy needed in 2016 elections, API’s Gerard says

American Petroleum Institute Pres. Jack N. Gerard expressed hope that more US political candidates—from Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump on down—would mention energy more prominently in their 2016 election campaigns because it has contributed so much to the US economic recovery since the end of 2008.

Voters have consistently identified energy and economic growth as their main concerns this year in surveys, Gerard told reporters during a Sept. 26 teleconference hours before the two leading presidential nominees’ first debate. “We believe you can’t have a conversation about any election topic without including energy and, in particular, oil and gas because of its significantly lower prices,” he said.

“Many of the income equality and poverty questions are being addressed by lower energy costs,” Gerard said. “If President Obama’s campaign message in 2008 was ‘Yes, We Can,’ the oil and gas industry’s in 2016 is ‘Yes, We Did.’”

There’s a growing recognition now that energy is a key part of the US economy, although issues vary across the country from production in some areas to transportation in others and consumption elsewhere, he said.

“This election is a good time to discuss the various visions,” Gerard said. “There’s an opportunity to recognize differences between professional agitators and people who genuinely want to help run the country.”

Referring to the US Departments of Interior, Justice, and the Army joint action to withdraw an issued permit for the proposed Dakota Access crude oil pipeline in response to growing protests by Indian tribes and other groups hours after a federal judge in Washington rejected a request that the permit be stayed (OGJ Online, Sept. 12, 2016), the API leader saw a potentially disturbing precedent for candidates to consider.

“It’s important that a project is allowed to go forward when the government has approved it and a court upholds that approval,” Gerard said. “Otherwise, there’s a chilling effect when companies grow uncertain that government decisions might be reversed arbitrarily.”

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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