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Trump, New Congress Must Cut Energy Regs: Oil Lobbyists

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The Trump administration and new Congress should focus during its first 100 days on cutting some of the nearly 150 redundant or unnecessary regulations that are strangling the oil and gas industry, Jack Gerard, president and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute, said Wednesday.

“From our standpoint, a top priority is the regulatory agenda,” Gerard told attendees at API’s 2017 State of American Energy event at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington. “We are currently dealing with 145 proposed or pending regulations that just impact the oil and gas industry. We support smart, common-sense regulation, but many of these are redundant and unnecessarily impose costs on the American consumer.”

Many federal regulations are “conflicting, redundant or confusing” to those imposed by the states, which are the primary regulators of the oil and gas industry, Gerard said. “There is an appropriate role for federal, state and local governments to play in terms of regulating activity, but it should be smart.”

API, a trade group for the oil and gas industry, released at the event its 2017 State of American Energy report, which Gerard said “makes clear that the policies our elected representatives choose and the actions they take today will determine whether this nation’s 21st century energy renaissance endures and delivers the energy, economic opportunities and national security through global energy leadership that Americans today and in the future deserve.”

Added Gerard: “We occupy an important point in our nation’s history. For the first time in our lifetime, we can now say that North America has the potential to become a net energy exporter. That’s a revolutionary change, a significant shift from where we were just a few short years ago.”

In comments to reporters, Gerard pointed to two areas where regulations need review: methane and offshore emissions. “We’re significantly increasing natural gas production in the country; methane emissions have been dropping,” he said. “Yet for whatever reason, the government … has chosen to come in now and regulate the very activity that we are demonstrating is improving on a day-to-day basis.” Federal regulators, he continued, are also performing a study “to determine whether there’s any offshore impacts of offshore emissions. They haven’t even concluded the study yet to determine if there’s any impact but they already put out the regulation to regulate the activity.”

He noted in his speech that “roughly 94% of federal offshore acreage is off limits to energy production. Allowing more offshore oil and natural gas production could create more than 800,000 new jobs, grow our economy by up to $70 billion per year and raise more than $200 billion in cumulative revenue for the government treasury.”

Restricted offshore areas, he continued, “could hold 50 billion barrels, or more, of oil and more than 195 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Just imagine what the industry could do to further benefit consumers, the economy and the environment if more of that energy were available for responsible and safe domestic production.”

Gerard also noted API’s concern with the border-adjusted tax, which would tax imports but not exports, that is included in the House GOP Blueprint, which was introduced in the House in June.

“We are doing an analysis of it to see what it would do; we haven’t concluded that analysis yet,” he said. “We have been talking to many, on a bipartisan basis, on Capitol Hill expressing concern and letting them know we will be back to them with further analysis.”

As to climate change, Gerard said the U.S. is at a “25-year low in carbon emissions; that’s not written about enough. Our view is we need to get beyond [climate change] deniers and believers and focus on what’s taking place. We now lead the world in carbon reductions. No one would have thought that possible.”

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