American Energy Powers the State of the Union
Posted February 4, 2020
For decades, American presidents across the political spectrum have outlined their policy proposals to Congress at the State of the Union. Ideologies come and go with each transition of power. But every president from Jimmy Carter to Donald Trump has agreed that affordable, reliable, and homegrown energy is essential to the country’s economic growth, national security, and overall prosperity.
Historically, U.S. energy policy was driven by our ambition to reduce dependence on foreign natural gas and oil, but times have thankfully changed. In 2020, the State of American Energy is one of domestic leadership in natural gas and oil production and progress toward global climate solutions.
To further develop our energy resources and strengthen environmental performance, it’s imperative that the White House and Congress prepare for the projected growth in global energy demand with forward-looking policies that support safe and responsible natural gas and oil production.
For example, robust energy infrastructure allows industry operators to safely and seamlessly deliver affordable fuels to consumers. The nation’s extensive network of pipelines, roads, railways, ports, and export terminals serves as the backbone of the energy industry and ensures that natural gas and oil continue to reach American households, businesses, and trading partners.
But to keep pace with rising demand, more than $1 trillion in investment is needed through 2035.
Because burdensome regulations have long delayed critical infrastructure build-out – including airports, interstate highways, and renewable energy projects – API strongly supports the administration’s proposed reforms to the National Environmental Policy Act, which hasn’t been updated since 1978.
Unnecessary 42-year-old permitting processes have been misused to delay and derail development, so reducing red tape is an important step toward expanding America’s energy infrastructure.
Additionally, trade disputes complicate global supply chains and create barriers to U.S. export growth. The recent passage and signing of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) is a win-win for American workers and consumers, as the free flow of crude oil, gasoline, fuel oil, and refined products is central to our ongoing energy security and economic growth.
But more work needs to be done. While the Phase One trade deal with China has increased market stability and opened the door to future negotiations, Americans are still paying the costs of misguided policymaking. Trade de-escalation is welcome news, but lawmakers must work to fully restore the U.S.-China marketplace and lift the remaining tariffs.
In an election year marked by uncertainty, policymakers must work with industry leaders to keep the global influence of U.S. energy leadership strong. For evidence of success, look no further than the economic impact of the industry here at home. America’s natural gas and oil is empowering broad sector growth and growing local economies in towns across New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Michigan, just to name a few.
Simultaneously, we have our eye on a cleaner future. Industry-led innovations and partnerships with engineers, academics, and government scientists enable the advancement of technologies, like hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, that underpin the hard-earned economic opportunity associated with the U.S. energy revolution. And by advocating for the widespread implementation of carbon capture, utilization, and storage – among other methods for emissions reduction – energy operators are addressing the dual challenge of energy and environmental progress.
The strength of America’s energy future depends on bipartisan support for infrastructure expansion, trade agreements, economic growth, and environmental protection. Reflecting ahead of tonight’s State of the Union, America’s natural gas and oil industry is eager to continue accelerating state-of-the-art technologies, advancing forward-focused legislation, and delivering energy for progress.
About The Author
Mike Sommers is the 15th chief executive of API since its founding nearly a century ago. Prior to coming to API, Mike led the American Investment Council, a trade association representing many of the nation’s leading private equity and growth capital firms and other business partners. He spent two decades in critical staff leadership positions in the U.S. House of Representatives and the White House, including chief of staff for then-House Speaker John Boehner. Mike is a native of Naperville, Illinois, and a graduate of the honors program at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Mike and Jill Sommers, a former commissioner at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, have three children and live in Alexandria, Virginia.
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