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API’s Presidential Primary Debate Tip Sheet

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WASHINGTON, July 30, 2019 – In advance of the second round of the presidential primary debates, please see below for a brief tip sheet focusing on some of the major issues related to the natural gas and oil that may be brought up during the debates.

Meeting the climate challenge head-on:

  • Climate change is real and serious, and the natural gas and oil industry is at the forefront of developing energy solutions to address it while still ensuring Americans have access to reliable and affordable energy.
  • As API 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…”

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Reducing CO2 emissions:

  • The continuing transition to clean natural gas for electricity generation is a large reason why the United States' CO2 emission levels reached their lowest level in a generation.
  • More than 60 percent of the carbon dioxide reductions in the electric power sector from 2005 to 2016 were due to switching to natural gas power generation.
  • The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that natural gas is responsible for more CO2 emissions reductions in electricity generation than renewables.

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The future of natural gas and oil in America’s energy portfolio:

  • Promises of an imminent energy landscape powered entirely by alternative fuels might make for an applause line, but it’s not likely to make for plausible policy.
  • Restrictive energy policies that prohibit natural gas and oil would freeze America's energy revolution in its tracks even as the United States leads the world in the reduction of CO2 emissions and production of oil and natural gas.
  • 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.

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Is the Green New Deal the right deal for America:

  • Any proposal that fundamentally reorders American energy—and the way of life in this country—must be measured by its impact on the environment, as well as, its impact on Americans, the economy, and the country’s opportunity for future prosperity.
  • The Green New Deal is laudable in its efforts to reduce CO2 emissions, but the sweeping policy would uproot America’s energy renaissance, even as everyday Americans continue to benefit from it, in favor of an ambiguous energy model reliant on technology not yet realized.
  • In comparison to the Green New Deal’s ambiguity, 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 recently helping to drive CO2 emissions to the lowest levels in a generation.

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The problems with calling for a halt to drilling on federal lands:

  • The federal government owns about 28% of the land in the United States and 47% of all land in the West.
  • Prohibiting further investment to unlock the vast energy resources buried under federal lands will block job opportunities and a source of tax revenue, while increasing the need for energy imports that may be produced in a less environmentally conscientious manner.
  • As David Hayes, the No. 2 Interior Department official under the Obama administration, recently said, it would be “impractical and inappropriate to stop oil and gas drilling on our public lands and offshore waters right now.”

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American natural gas and oil is empowering America’s 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.
  • The U.S. military is the largest government user of energy 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.
  • Bloomberg: “The Permian, Bakken, Eagle Ford, and other sources of shale oil are as valuable to U.S. foreign policy as the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet.”

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The myth surrounding the natural gas and oil industry and taxes:

  • The natural gas and oil industry does not receive any unique tax breaks or direct subsidies, instead, our industry was able to help foster the energy renaissance that’s currently benefitting American consumers because the tax code incentivizes investment.
  • The natural gas and oil industry is already a significant contributor to the federal treasury, contributing tens of millions of dollars a day to the federal government.
  • To generate more tax receipts for the government, implement additional pro-development energy policies that foster increased economic activity.

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Trade barriers like tariffs and quotas are hurting Americans:

  • Support for USMCA and opposition to policies that create trade barriers - like tariffs and quotas - are essential for ensuring lasting prosperity in America.
  • Free trade has helped the U.S. become the world’s number one producer of natural gas and oil, which saved Americans more than $300 billion on energy-related expenses in 2017.
  • North American energy markets are highly integrated and there’s a natural match between energy production and demand between the three USMCA countries:
    • Mexico is the No. 1 market for U.S. exports of gasoline, fuel oil and total refined products,
    • Canada is No. 1 market for U.S. exports of crude oil and fuel blending components,
    • Canada and Mexico are the top two energy exporters to the United States.

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The electric vehicle tax credit benefits the wealthy:

  • Two-thirds of households that buy electric vehicles (EVs) have an annual income in excess of $100,000, nearly twice the national average.
  • A recent study found that “70 percent of the [federal electric vehicle tax] credits were obtained by households that would have bought an EV without the credits.”
  • Electric vehicles, along with every other innovation, are welcome, but Americans have already shelled out $2.2 billion in federal tax credits for the purchase of electric vehicles, which—according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration—has overwhelming benefitted upper-income households.

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The natural gas and oil industry is a willing partner in clean-energy research:

  • Greater federal investment in clean-energy research would be a positive development so long as the government funding isn’t used to pick predetermined winners and losers.
  • The U.S. natural gas and oil industry is a leading investor in zero and low-carbon technologies, contributing more than $108 billion from 2000 through 2016.
    • That’s more than double the investments of each of the next two industries.

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API is the only national trade association representing all facets of the natural gas and oil industry, which supports 10.3 million U.S. jobs and nearly 8 percent of the U.S. economy. API’s more than 600 members include large integrated companies, as well as exploration and production, refining, marketing, pipeline, marine businesses, and service and supply firms. They provide most of the nation’s energy and are backed by a growing grassroots movement of more than 47 million Americans. API was formed in 1919 as a standards-setting organization. In its first 100 years, API has developed more than 700 standards to enhance operational and environmental safety, efficiency and sustainability.