Working with Biden Administration, Industry is Poised to Accelerate Progress
Posted March 16, 2021
The natural gas and oil industry is committed to working with America’s energy stakeholders, including U.S. government regulators, to deliver affordable, reliable fuels and shape a lower-carbon future.
The Biden administration has taken office at a time when the U.S. leads the world in energy production and emissions reductions. The President’s nominees to oversee the Department of Energy, Department of the Interior and Environmental Protection Agency – Secretary Jennifer Granholm, Secretary Debra Haaland and Administrator Michael Regan, respectively – have signaled readiness to tackle the dual challenge of strengthening U.S. energy security and addressing the risks of climate change.
During their Senate confirmation hearings, these leaders acknowledged the essential role of natural gas and oil in our long-term fuel mix and proposed bipartisan solutions for regulating the U.S. energy sector.
While we stand firmly opposed to policies that would reverse America’s hard-fought energy leadership, API shares the administration’s ambitions for economic recovery and emissions reductions – and we look forward to establishing common ground with key agency officials. We believe this industry and the government can work together to advance our energy future, particularly on issues where agreement is achievable and essential.
Here are four examples of consensus and common ground.
- Building Critical Infrastructure: Pipelines remain the safest, most environmentally friendly way to transport energy for everyday use, and infrastructure development generates thousands of good-paying jobs across America. While Secretary Haaland has historically opposed pipeline construction, she explained to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee that the federal government will issue permits that enable natural gas and oil pipeline development. We view this as indispensable to America’s economic recovery and energy security.
- Exporting American Environmental Progress: Natural gas switching in power generation is a cost-effective climate solution, at home and abroad. With liquefied natural gas (LNG), the U.S. can share this cleaner-burning fuel with our trading partners across Europe and Asia. Secretary Granholm has expressed support for LNG exports, which would deliver economic, environmental and geopolitical benefits for the America and our allies.
- Supporting Energy Development: President Biden’s executive order restricting energy development on federal lands and waters marked a step backward for the U.S. economy and the environment. Secretary Haaland indicated that this will only be a temporary pause – not a permanent ban – and acknowledged that such a policy would not reduce the global production or demand for natural gas and oil.
- Accelerating Innovation: API member companies are actively investing in groundbreaking technologies, like carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS), which will be vital to achieving climate targets while meeting the world’s growing energy needs. Secretary Granholm has expressed excitement about “the opportunities for game-changing advances in carbon capture,” and the natural gas and oil industry welcomes federal funding for ongoing research and development.
As Administrator Regan noted during his confirmation hearing:
“If you want to address complex challenges, you must first be able to see them from all sides, and you must be willing to put yourself in other people’s shoes. We can’t simply regulate ourselves out of every problem we face.”
On this, the industry and regulators can agree.
When it comes to priority issues, particularly those with broad bipartisan consensus, the natural gas and oil industry stands ready to work with Secretary Granholm, Secretary Haaland, Administrator Regan and the rest of the Biden administration. With industry-driven solutions and public sector support, we look forward to collaborating with government leaders to accelerate America’s energy and environmental progress.
About The Author
Lem Smith is API’s vice president for Federal Relations. Lem joined API in February 2020 as vice president for Upstream Policy & Industry Operations. He previously served as a principal at Squire Patton Boggs, an international law and public-policy firm, where he advised private and public sector clients on federal and multi-state policy matters and provided counsel on communications strategies, campaign affairs and crises management. Previously, Lem was director, U.S. Government & Regulatory Affairs at Encana, and responsible for all aspects of U.S. government relations and regulatory policy matters at the state and federal levels. Prior to that, Lem was director of Government Relations for Kerr-McGee Corporation. Lem began his career on Capitol Hill, working for U.S. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, U.S. Rep. Roger Wicker (Mississippi) and the late U.S. Rep. Charlie Norwood (Georgia), where he negotiated key member priorities within the 2005 Energy Policy Act (EPAct). Lem is a graduate of the University of Mississippi.
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