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Jack Gerard's remarks at API Event: Energy & the Election: What Voters Think

As prepared for delivery

Jack N. Gerard, API president and CEO 
Energy and the Election: What Americans Think
June 21, 2016

Thanks, Louis, for the introduction. Good morning everyone, and welcome to our program: Energy and the Election: What Americans Think. At your seats you will find our recommendations to the party platform committees as well as poll results on what America is thinking on energy issues. Today’s event is part of our ongoing Vote 4 Energy series, where we talk to voters about our candidate this election year: energy.

A few months ago, at our last event, we released our recommendations to the Democrat and Republican platform committees. And we don’t just talk TO voters, we also listen to them. For the next few minutes, I want to share with you what we heard from the American voters on energy issues and the energy future they prefer based on the results of a recent poll conducted by Harris Poll.

The poll, What America Is Thinking on Energy Issues, found that 69 percent of all voters, including 86 percent of Republicans, 69 percent of Independents and 57 percent of Democrats, say they are more likely to support candidates who want to produce more U.S. oil and natural gas.

Broadly, the poll makes clear that when it comes to energy, what matters to most Americans is a reliable and affordable supply of energy.

This may be why most Americans want a national energy policy. The poll found that 73 percent of all voters, including 67 percent of Republicans, 76 percent of Independents and 79 percent of Democrats, support establishing a national energy policy that ensures a secure supply of abundant, affordable and available energy for the American people in an environmentally responsible manner.

There are few other public policy areas where strong bipartisan majorities agree on a path forward. What this makes clear is that the American people want and expect a national energy policy that protects the gains we’ve made in energy security, abundance and global leadership.
That’s why during this election season and beyond we are promoting our candidate, energy, which a majority of Americans clearly support.

Today, our nation is the number one producer of oil and national gas on the planet. The dramatic reversal of the American energy landscape in just a few short years is not the product of government regulation, but instead industry innovation.

In fact, this nation has achieved something no other nation on earth has accomplished so far: increasing energy production, a growing economy, albeit slowly, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions to near 20-year lows.

This achievement, which we refer to as the U.S. model, serves as a real-world reminder of what this nation’s entrepreneurial spirit, unique system of government and private sector driven innovation and expertise can accomplish.

Here again voters understand the importance of America’s 21st century energy renaissance. Our poll found that regardless of political party affiliation, there is strong voter support for the role of natural gas in reducing greenhouse gases, in this case 70 percent of all voters.

The U.S. model makes clear that markets, not government mandates, should guide our nation’s energy policy. What should be most important to lawmakers and candidates is what’s best for the American consumer -- not furthering a particular ideology or appeasing a narrow political constituency.

The test that any proposed energy policy or imposed government regulation should satisfy is: will it make energy more affordable for the consumer; is it better for the environment; does it grow our economy; and enhance our national security?

If not, then it clearly isn’t what’s best for our nation, our environment or America’s energy future.

A good example of an energy policy that fails this test is the Renewable Fuel Standard.

According to the poll, 77 percent of all voters are concerned about government requirements to increase ethanol in gasoline as the RFS seeks to do, and that concern is not partisan. Seventy percent of Democrats and 82 percent of Independents and Republicans are concerned about such ethanol mandates.

When you consider that a 2014 Congressional Budget Office study projected that the RFS could raise the cost of fuel for consumers because “Given the design of the RFS, the cost of encouraging additional sales of high-ethanol fuel falls on the producers and consumers of gasoline and diesel,” it should be obvious that it is past time for Congress to step in and end or substantially amend the RFS.

The RFS is a good example of what happens when energy policy does not reflect reality or keep pace with the market.

The need for affordable, reliable and abundant energy isn’t a Democrat, Independent or Republican issue. Energy security and global energy security are not Red State, Blue State issues.
Energy is an American prosperity, economic growth and opportunity issue that deserves thoughtful debate based on reason, not overheated rhetoric and unworkable slogans.

It is our view, and the of a majority of voters that our nation’s energy policy discussion should be an exchange of common sense ideas rooted in reality and based on the inescapable fact that we will need more energy from all sources to meet our energy needs for decades far into the future.

In fact, the EIA estimates that fossil fuels will account for 80 percent of U.S. energy consumption though 2040, and the agency estimates that even under the best-case scenario for alternative fuel use, fossil fuels will still account for 77 percent of our energy needs.

Translation: America’s best energy future is a strategy based on the principle of all of the above.

What the U.S. Model proves is that we can achieve what were once thought to be contradictory goals, if the markets are allowed to work and those who make energy policy hear the voices of America’s consumers.

If we are to continue our nation’s current positive energy production trends and environmental gains, we must demand that those who act on our behalf, at all levels of government, implement energy policies that promote a brighter, better American energy future based on market-driven principles and our potential as a global energy leader.

Our shared goal should be to create a new American understanding of energy -- and with it a national energy policy -- based on science, the free market and entrepreneurial spirit because energy is too important and fundamental to our way of life for anything less than our collective best efforts to that end.

Because in the real world, where people work, play, learn and raise a family, there is no single source of energy that alone can solve our problems or meet our nation’s and the world’s growing energy needs.

I continue to believe and hope that all of us ultimately have the same goal: to leave our community, our nation and our world better than we found it for the next generation.

They deserve nothing less than our collective best efforts to that end, and they are counting on us to put into place realistic energy policies that enhance our nation’s energy security and national security, promote job creation and responsible environmental stewardship, economic growth, and status as a global energy leader.

Thank you for your time. Now I’d like to invite Monica to the stage for the next part of our program. Monica…

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