US petchems leader says Obama is hostile to fossil fuels

25 January 2012 18:33  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS)--Despite President Barack Obama’s call for more development of domestic natural gas resources, a top US refining and petrochemicals official on Wednesday charged that the Obama administration has “embraced an anti-fossil fuels policy”.

Charles Drevna, president of the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), said that while on one hand Obama pledged to accelerate natural gas development, with the other hand he characterises the energy industry as greedy.

“We saw an example of this demonisation of fossil fuels just last night in the state of the union address,” Drevna said, referring to Obama’s annual speech to Congress, delivered late on Tuesday.

“President Obama called for an end to what he called ‘subsidies’ to oil companies, while at the same time saying America needs to support American manufacturers,” Drevna said.

“There are no ‘oil company subsidies’, just as there is no cellulosic ethanol,” he said, charging that the Obama administration’s anti-fossil fuel policies are “against the best interests of American consumers, American workers and America’s national security”.

In his speech to Congress on Tuesday, Obama noted that the US has natural gas resources “that can last America nearly 100 years”.

“And my administration will take every possible action to safely develop this energy,” Obama said.

“President Obama is correct that creating new manufacturing jobs and producing more domestic energy is critically important,” Drevna said, “but we wish he would work with us constructively to enact regulatory and tax policies to preserve existing manufacturing jobs held by Americans today in our industries and others.”

He urged the administration to eliminate “harmful and counterproductive federal overregulation, including seemingly endless permit delays that block America’s access to domestic oil and natural gas and make it difficult for fuel and petrochemical manufacturing plants to operate”.

He said that the Obama administration’s decision last week to reject the multi-billion dollar Keystone XL pipeline project is only the most “recent example of the administration’s anti-fossil fuels policy”.

Drevna spoke at a press conference announcing the rebranding of the former National Petrochemical & Refiners Association (NPRA) as the AFPM.

He said the name change reflects the fact that US refiners and petrochemical producers are American and manufacturers.

Drevna said the renamed trade group would work to educate the public and policymakers on the benefits of the products produced by AFPM’s member firms.

Paul Hodges studies key influences shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy

By: Joe Kamalick
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