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API on Tonight's Presidential Primary Debate

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WASHINGTON, June 27, 2019 – Following the conclusion of the first two presidential primary debates of the 2020 election cycle, API’s Director of Communications, Ben Marter, issued the following statement:

“Independent experts agree that natural gas and oil will supply more than half of America’s energy needs for decades to come. Our industry will continue to work with Democrats and Republicans alike to ensure that American energy policy balances environmental protection, record consumer demand, and a secure supply of affordable energy for every family in our country.”

Concurrent with the debate, API regularly updated its blog with industry insight and information relevant to the discussion onstage but omitted from the conversation. Please see below for a roundup of that content which may serve as a helpful counterbalance to any discourse that overlooks the benefits of the natural gas and oil industry and its widespread necessity in modern society.


The Future Of America’s Energy Portfolio

Promises of an imminent energy landscape powered entirely by alternative fuels might make for an applause line, but it’s less likely to make for plausible policy.

Restrictive energy policies that prohibit natural gas and oil would freeze the American energy revolution in its tracks and the average American household could see its costs jump hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars due to increased costs for transportation fuel, electricity, home heating, and other goods and services. Electricity prices alone could increase an average of over 50 percent.

As it stands, the United States leads the world in both reduction of carbon dioxide emissions and in production of oil and natural gas. Carbon dioxide emissions from power generation have plunged to nearly 30-year lows primarily because of greater availability of clean natural gas. In fact, more than 60 percent of the carbon dioxide reductions in the electric power sector from 2005 to 2016 are due to fuel switching from higher emission generation to natural gas generation.

Instead of throwing the baby out with the bath water, America’s policy leaders should pursue energy policies that value the resilience of a diverse energy portfolio. With realistic, innovative and forward-thinking energy policies, we can ensure the U.S. energy renaissance continues to provide benefits for American consumers, workers and the environment while building on the natural gas and oil industry’s efforts to do our part to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from energy production.

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The U.S. Is Leading The World In Cutting Emissions

The United States’ world leadership in natural gas and oil production is accompanied by world leadership in cutting carbon dioxide emissions.

Whether or not the U.S. remains, or leaves, the Paris Agreement, the natural gas and oil industry will continue to actively address the complex global challenge of climate change through robust investments in technology innovation, efficiency improvements and cleaner fuels. As is, natural gas has driven U.S. carbon dioxide emissions to among their lowest levels in a generation even as emissions around the globe have risen 50 percent since 1990. The natural gas and oil industry is focused on continuing to do our part to reduce carbon dioxide emissions while meeting energy needs with affordable and reliable energy.

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The Natural Gas And Oil Industry Is A Leading Investor In Cleaner-Energy Technologies

Greater investment in clean-energy research and development would be a positive development that could spur the innovation of carbon reducing technologies throughout the different energy sectors; so long as the government funding isn’t used to pick predetermined winners and losers.

The natural gas and oil industry is a leading investor in zero and low-carbon technology, investing more than $108 billion between 2000-2016, that’s more than double the investments of each of the next two industries. Our industry’s commitment to investing in low-carbon technologies has been fundamentally important to America’s effort to reduce emissions and help the environment.

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Natural Gas Is Key In Reducing Carbon Emissions

No discussion about the need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions is complete without acknowledging the key role that natural gas has played and will continue to play going forward. America is leading the world in reducing carbon dioxide emissions largely because of clean natural gas. And thanks in part to significant investments in production and innovation in natural gas and oil, natural gas is enabling the U.S. to realize economic growth while simultaneously experiencing a reduction in emissions.

Clean and abundant natural gas displacing coal power is a large reason why the United States' CO2 emission levels are among the lowest in a generation. As the use of natural gas increased between 2010 and 2017, U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions decreased. In fact, the EIA estimates that natural gas is responsible for more CO2 emissions reductions in electricity generation than renewables.

U.S. natural gas can help play an important role in reducing emissions abroad as well. Increased U.S. exports of liquefied natural gas would enable other countries to replicate America’s natural gas model for reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

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The Green New Deal: The Right Deal For America?

Any proposal that would fundamentally reorder American energy – and the way of life in this country – must be measured not only on its impact on greenhouse gas carbon emissions, but also by its impacts on Americans from coast-to-coast, the economy and the country’s opportunity for future prosperity.

So while the Green New Deal is laudable in its goal of reducing carbon dioxide emissions, the current limitations of technology and uncertainty of scaling renewable infrastructure obscure its potential impact. The Green New Deal seeks to uproot the current energy model, just as the benefits of America’s energy renaissance are manifesting for everyday Americans, with an ambiguous energy model reliant on technology not yet realized.

In juxtaposition to the Deal’s ambiguity, abundant energy from domestic natural gas and oil currently powers the modern U.S. economy, supports 10.3 million jobs and creates opportunity for social mobility and economic prosperity, all while helping drive CO2 emissions to the lowest levels in a generation. These facts could be why the U.S. Energy Information Administration projected that natural gas would supply nearly 40% of our electricity for decades to come.

As America powers into a future with increasingly less carbon dioxide emissions, the U.S. natural gas and oil industry will continue to play a leading role in reducing emissions while meeting record consumer energy demand, reliably and affordably.

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Addressing Climate Change

It may be debate night in Miami, but there’s no debate from our industry that climate change is real and a serious issue. The U.S. natural gas and oil industry is already developing energy solutions to help address climate change while still ensuring Americans have access to reliable and affordable energy. Currently, clean and abundant U.S. natural gas is the number one source of electricity in the country.

As API’s President Mike Sommers said earlier this year:

"When it comes to carbon, no nation has reduced emissions more than America has over the last decade. … The single greatest factor is clean natural gas. Not only has it altered the economic landscape; it makes progress possible in renewable energy as well…”

While we may not yet know all the ways that our country will address the climate challenge going forward, it’s important that American political leaders consider climate change solutions that reflect the spirt of this country– rather than pursuing solutions that limit and constrain choices for Americans, pursue solutions that enable innovation and reduce CO2 emissions and enable innovation, which will create more opportunities and pathways for Americans to enjoy healthier, freer lives.

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Free Trade: The Rising Tide That Lifts All Boats

Support for the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and opposition to policies that create trade barriers - like tariffs and quotas - are essential for ensuring lasting prosperity in America.

North American energy markets are highly integrated and interconnected, with energy infrastructure and energy products continuously crossing the borders of the U.S., Canada and Mexico. There’s a natural match between energy production and demand for specific energy products between the three USMCA countries. Mexico is the No. 1 market for U.S. exports of gasoline, fuel oil and total refined products, while Canada is No. 1 market for U.S. exports of crude oil and fuel blending components. Canada and Mexico are also the top two energy exporters to the United States.

Free trade has helped the U.S. become the number one producer of natural gas and oil, which saved Americans more than $300 billion on energy-related expenses in 2017. It has spurred record-breaking energy production – leading to lower energy-related costs for American families – and has helped sustain the more than ten million American jobs that the natural gas and oil industry supports.

In contrast, tariffs and quotas can have a negative impact on every sector of the American population and economy. Tariffs are essentially a tax that U.S. families and businesses are forced to pay just to buy what they need.

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Tax Policy, Affordable Energy, And America’s Economy

The United States’ energy renaissance is helping American families drive to work, pickup their kids from school, or meet-up with friends and family at a more affordable cost, so they’ll have more of their money remaining to spend or save. The natural gas and oil industry was able to help foster the energy renaissance because the tax code incentivizes investment, not because it receives any special tax breaks or subsidies.

The natural gas and oil industry is already is a significant contributor to the federal treasury – more than many other sectors. Our industry already contributes tens of millions of dollars a day on average to the federal government in taxes, rents and royalties.

To raise revenues for government, implement additional pro-development energy policies that foster increased industry activity that will generate more tax receipts, rents and royalties.

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The U.S. Energy Revolution Strengthens American Foreign Policy

America’s energy security helps to protect U.S. national security while also advancing America’s foreign policy goals of promoting respect for human rights and democratic values. As former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, “Energy cuts across the entirety of U.S. foreign policy. It’s a matter of national security and global stability.”

The U.S. military is the largest government user of energy and its overall energy needs are greater than that of many counties. More than any other energy source—and by a wide margin—natural gas and oil are what’s powering America’s military. And thanks to the U.S. energy revolution, America’s dependence on other nations to fill this vital security need has fallen significantly since 2006.

Exporting America’s bountiful energy resources, like natural gas, can help to deprive authoritarian regimes of a vital income source while also empowering American allies who would otherwise be reliant on an unreliable or unstable country for their energy needs. As then-Secretary Clinton remarked, “When one nation is overly dependent on another for its energy, that can jeopardize its political and economic independence. It can make a country vulnerable to threats and coercion.”

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API represents all segments of America’s oil and natural gas industry. Our more than 600 members produce, process and distribute most of the nation’s energy. The industry supports more than ten million U.S. jobs and is backed by a growing grassroots movement of millions of Americans. API was formed in 1919 as a standards-setting organization. In our first 100 years, API has developed more than 700 standards to enhance operational and environmental safety, efficiency and sustainability.


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