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The Importance of Energy Policy Perspectives for 2016

Posted by Kelly Rains |

The Importance of Energy Policy Perspectives for 2016

A Message from your KIOGA President, Edward Cross



In early August, the first primary debate of the 2016 election season gave many voters their first opportunity to hear – side-by-side – how one group of candidates intends to lead America in the 21st century.

This conversation would not be complete without addressing energy – an area where innovation, competition, diplomacy, and domestic policy will intersect to determine America’s future as a global and economic superpower.

Over the last decade, our nation has left behind decades of energy scarcity and has become a worldwide leader in energy production.  American oil and natural gas production is up because the independent oil and natural gas industry is committed to investment and job creation in the U.S. and are using technology and innovation to access more oil and natural gas reserves.  This surging American production has marginalized the ability of other nations to dictate prices and created vast new economic opportunities for U.S. workers and consumers.

But this unique American moment of global energy leadership is not set in stone.  It represents a crossroads, and our next president – as well as those who occupy Congress, governors and state legislators – will be called on to decide between two paths.

We can move forward and build upon our nation’s new era of energy abundance, self-determination, and global leadership or take a step back to an era of scarcity, dependence and uncertainty.

A recent report outlined the economic realities that will accompany two very different paths for the future of energy policy.  The facts outlined in this report provide a clear roadmap for any leader seeking to present a positive, consumer-focused vision to the American people.

It shows the potential rewards of pro-development policies and the possible long-term economic harm that could result from many of the regulatory constraints and barriers imposed or under consideration.

Some of the pro-growth policies considered include lifting the crude oil export ban, increased access to energy resources offshore, a more efficient permitting process onshore, faster approval of energy infrastructure projects, and a market-determined scope for LNG exports.

On the other side of the equation are policies that promise to restrain production, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Endangered Species Act abuses, EPA’s new definition of ‘Waters of the U.S.’ under the Clean Water Act, EPA’s new ozone standards, the Bureau of Land Management’s hydraulic fracturing rule, and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s proposed rule on natural gas gathering lines.  The difference between the benefits we could accrue from pro-energy policies and the negative effects of policy decisions that are anti-energy is 11 million barrels of oil-equivalent per day in domestic energy production and over 3 million jobs.  And, in many cases, these are choices the next president will face on day one.

For example, the White House – with no additional authority from Congress – could open the door to exports of crude oil.  This single, overdue step could save consumers $5.8 billion per year on fuel and add up to 300,000 American jobs.  And it would put American producers on a level playing field with those in Iran, who may soon have full access to the global market.

And – if this administration takes the wrong course – the next president will be forced to answer for the costliest regulation ever imposed on the American public.  According to a report by NERA Economic Consulting, lowering the ozone standard to 60 parts per billion, which the EPA is considering, could cost our economy $270 billion per year and place millions of jobs at risk.

Make no mistake – America’s role as an energy superpower is not ensured.  We’ve seen massive overreach by federal agencies on full display under the current administration.  Thousands of pages of new roadblocks and mandates are making their way through the regulatory pipeline.  We cannot afford for our next president to be blinded to the opportunities in front of us by a stale mindset of 70s-era energy scarcity.

That is why those who seek to represent us must go beyond the talking points and outline a clear vision for energy that will advance our nation’s economy, security, and standard of living.

Policy decisions that affect North American energy production should transcend political parties.  Because achieving energy leadership and energy abundance and security is not a Blue State or Red State issue; it is an economic growth, American prosperity, and national security imperative.