Sommers: Industry Providing Leadership on America’s Key Challenges
Posted May 12, 2021
During a period of transition and change in our country, the natural gas and oil industry remains a foundation for progress, supplying the energy to run a modern economy – and doing so in ways that protect the environment and reduce emissions.
API President and CEO Mike Sommers emphasized those and related points in a speech to some of the nation’s leading energy producers at the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference in Bismarck, North Dakota.
Sommers described the natural gas and oil industry as one that is focused on producing for the American people as well as one that’s developing technologies and innovating to address the risks of climate change. Sommers said the most important environmental movement in the world is the U.S. natural gas and oil industry:
“We are at a pivotal moment – socially, politically and economically – with an opportunity to renew and rethink some of our industry’s longstanding priorities. … No industry has done more to cut emissions throughout the economy thanks to voluntary action, rather than government mandates. No industry’s leadership and innovation has led to more emissions reductions in its products – like the fuels powering today’s new cars, SUVs and trucks, all of which are 99% cleaner than vehicles produced in 1970. Not to mention, the U.S. LNG exports that send American environmental progress all over the world.”
The industry has led and is leading on the challenge to both empower our country and reduce emissions. Sommers also underscored the critical role of natural gas and oil to economic recovery and the importance of strengthening and expanding the nation’s energy infrastructure network.
He pointed out that a number of the Biden administration’s policies so far have been counterproductive to energy security, growth and environmental progress. He noted that recent polling shows bipartisan majorities of U.S. voters favor sensible, pragmatic approaches on energy and that Democrats, Independents and Republicans agree that natural gas and oil will be part of the nation’s energy mix for decades to come. Specifically:
- Canceling the Keystone XL pipeline cost jobs and the opportunity to strengthen the U.S. energy relationship with Canada and bolster energy security.
- The administration’s omission of pipeline infrastructure in its recently released infrastructure plan – and the looming possibility the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), operating for almost four years, could be shut down.
- Registered voters in the Morning Consult poll, on behalf of API, believe the world will use more energy in 2050 than it does now (59%), see natural gas and oil as integral to our energy future (73%) and believe our industry should be allowed to participate when governments are considering energy and environmental policies (73%).
“We hear lots about the White House’s “21st century infrastructure plan.” But say we got rid of DAPL, for example. That means we will be transporting more oil with trucks and trains, which are less efficient and less environmentally friendly than pipelines. A president with a half-century of government experience should know better. He also should know that the world’s population will increase to nearly 10 billion people by 2050, and energy demand will grow with it – particularly in developing nations that already struggle to alleviate energy poverty.”
“You certainly won’t meet that demand by hamstringing energy supplied by the U.S., the world’s leading oil and gas producer, by standing in the way of this nation’s infrastructure needs. You won’t do it by extending a moratorium on oil leases, like the new Department of the Interior continues to do. And you won’t do it by banning natural gas in communities that need it.”
Sommers said meeting domestic energy demand growth will require more investment, more exploration in places like the Bakken and more pipeline capacity. He said the natural gas and oil industry is key to American economic growth and security in the world:
“The surest way to bring America’s economic recovery to a stop is to remove affordable energy from the picture – with more regulations, more restrictions, more taxes. And that’s what the administration’s new infrastructure package brings: higher taxes. If lawmakers restrict resource development, it’s small businesses and working people who will suffer. The economy simply cannot run at full speed unless we deliver energy from where it is to where it is needed.”
At the same time, our industry plans to be integral to a cleaner future. Sommers noted the focus of The Environmental Partnership to reduce emissions associated with natural gas and oil production and the new API Energy Excellence initiative, which defines top performance for safety and environmental protection, as well as security and safeguarding communities. API members will report progress on the initiatives core elements to help ensure accountability.
More recently, API released its Climate Action Framework, a plan to meet the world’s growing need for energy while also fostering a lower-carbon future – through technology, continued mitigation of emissions, development of cleaner fuels, climate reporting and policy endorsements, such as a government carbon price policy and direct regulation of methane from new and existing sources. Sommers:
“By promoting industry-led initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and advocating for common-sense policies to improve environmental protections, we can position the oil and natural gas industry to deliver both energy security and climate solutions.”
This is today’s natural gas and oil industry: focused and purpose-driven. We’re innovating and adapting to keep the U.S. well-supplied with energy – supplying power for economic growth and strengthened security, while also providing leadership on the environment and progress toward climate goals.
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. Previously, Mark was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor at an assortment of newspapers. 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 have two grown children and six grandchildren.
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