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API's Jack Gerard holds press conference call ahead of the administration's budget proposal

Press conference call ahead of President Obama’s FY2017 budget proposal
Jack N. Gerard, API President and CEO
Monday, February 8, 2016

Opening statement, as prepared for delivery:

Good afternoon, and thank you for joining our call.

Tomorrow, the administration will release its eighth and final budget -- showing Congress their roadmap for economic growth and policy priorities that are part of their vision for America.

It's not as if we must guess where the administration will focus when it comes to U.S. energy.

During the administration’s tenure, oil and natural gas production on federal lands has fallen. Through focused and purposeful efforts, the White House has chosen to sit on the sidelines while states and individuals have reaped the rewards of an American energy renaissance -- with record production and refining of U.S. oil and natural gas.

Without the American energy revolution, the economy under this administration – not to mention progress in emissions reductions -- would be in considerably worse shape. Within the past decade, crude oil production increased 88 percent and production of cleaner-burning natural gas jumped 45 percent, helping drive carbon emissions to near 20-year lows, leading the rest of the world.

The energy resurgence has created jobs, cut fuel imports and delivered tangible benefits to American families and businesses – with average savings of $1,200 per year per household. Consumers saved more than $500 just in transportation fuel last year, home heating costs have declined and electricity costs dropped 27 to 37 percent nationwide.

It appears that the administration’s last year is dedicated to furthering an extremist agenda at the very real expense of the middle class and low-income families, through tax hikes on energy and a barrage of unnecessary and duplicative regulations that are catering to the well-funded, radical whims of “leave it in the ground” activists.

The White House has already floated one proposal from the budget: a $10 per barrel tax on crude oil. This unprecedented tax hike – adding, according to public reports, about 30 percent to the cost of a barrel of oil and potentially about 25 cents to the cost of a gallon of gasoline -- is just the latest bad idea from this administration when it comes to U.S. oil and gas resources.

We know that this tax hike could also have an impact on food prices and all sorts of consumer goods -- everything that relies on transportation to get to consumers.

And who could get hurt the most from this tax hike? Lower-income and middle class Americans, for whom essentials like transportation and grocery bills consume a greater percentage of their income. Only extremists whose goals ignore the concerns of consumers and lower-income families could welcome such an approach.

If the administration ignores that reality and continues to adhere to radical thinking that pits increased energy production against climate goals, it will leave a legacy harming consumers and squandering America’s incredible opportunity to lead the world in both energy production and reduced carbon reductions.

It’s also a false choice.

The United States has become a global leader in oil and gas development while leading the world in reducing carbon emissions. We are second to no one! There is a direct link between production increases and our success in reducing carbon emissions to near 20-year lows. An abundance of natural gas has made it more affordable than ever, leading power plants to switch to this clean-burning energy source.

The $10 cost hike should be a wake-up call. This is what “leave-it-in-the-ground” ideology really means: harm to consumers, diminished American competitiveness, weakened energy security and a return to energy dependence. It’s a head-in-the-sand movement.

While the American people have benefitted from the 9.8 million jobs and reduced energy costs delivered by the U.S. oil and natural gas industry, the administration has undermined the American energy resurgence time and again – often in defiance of scientific evidence.

Despite State Department findings that rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline would result in higher emissions, the president killed the project and its 42,000 jobs. Ironically, doing so means higher emissions through the transportation of Canadian oil by rail.

Despite the fact that our nation’s carbon dioxide emissions are at 20-year lows, the administration has implemented the Clean Power Plan, which gives preferences to only certain types of renewable energy, rather than providing states with a level playing field to choose freely among lower-emissions energy sources, while ensuring affordable and reliable energy for consumers.

Despite the fact that methane emissions are already falling, both EPA and the BLM are moving forward with additional layers of regulation that could raise the cost of natural gas production and drive down investments to bring more of this clean energy to market.

Despite the fact that a large, bipartisan coalition agrees the Renewable Fuel Standard is a failure -- a policy designed to cut greenhouse gas emissions but that actually increases them by forcing the use of a fuel that yields more GHG emissions than gasoline – the EPA continues to push for more ethanol in the fuel supply.

Over the past year, the oil and gas industry has faced nearly 100 regulations impacting all aspects of our business.

The $10 tax hike proposal is just the latest and most direct expression yet of what has been an increasingly hostile campaign against American consumers.

No longer constrained by electoral considerations, it seems the administration’s final months in office will be spent pursuing its true energy policy objective: to choke off America’s energy renaissance and keep fossil fuels in the ground.

The contrast between energy visions has never been clearer. The leave it in the ground approach could drag America back to energy dependence, raise consumer costs, destroy jobs and damage the economy. With a pro-energy strategy, on the other hand, the United States would remain a world energy leader, with strong oil and natural gas production and refining -- bringing with it jobs, and clean and affordable energy for consumers and businesses.

Thank you. I’d be happy to take your questions.