API President: Strengthen American Energy with Good Policies
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At his annual energy speech, Jack Gerard, President and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute, described the state of American energy as one of more jobs, economic growth, and improved energy security.
Despite recent lackluster economic growth—the U.S. ranked 159th in GDP growth in 2011—Gerard noted that energy investments have created jobs. Based on the latest jobs numbers, “oil and natural gas employment is up 6.5% from a year ago.” The industry currently supports 9.2 million jobs “and could support an additional 1.4 million by 2030” with more investments in production and refining.
Energy’s ability to create jobs extends beyond just the industry. “Companies and workers in every state are supporting the development of U.S. oil and natural gas,” said Gerard. Also, increased domestic production is causing manufacturers to move some of their operations to the U.S.
These economic benefits will only continue if we have good policies that, according to Gerard, “enable increased domestic energy production” rather than discourage it.
What should Congress and the administration do? Gerard starts with the philosophy that they “First, do no harm.” He points to the example of state regulators who have found a balance between energy development and environmental protection. Thousands of jobs have been created as a result.
On policy specifics, Gerard urged the federal government not to target the oil and gas industry with punitive tax measures. EPA and other federal agencies should avoid issuing redundant rules on hydraulic fracturing which makes so much oil and natural gas available. More federal lands should be open to exploration. Also, the administration should finally approve the Keystone XL pipeline to create construction jobs and bring Canadian oil to Gulf Coast refineries.
Good policies that encourage continued American energy development will let the industry continue making investments in technology, infrastructure, and people and power job creation and economic growth.