US oil and gas sector bids to make energy policy an election issue

15 May 2012 20:16  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS)--The US oil and gas industry on Tuesday moved to elevate energy policy as a major ballot box issue, urging the two principal US political parties to make access to domestic energy resources part of their election-year policy platforms.

The American Petroleum Institute (API) issued suggested platform “planks” for consideration by the Republican Party and the Democratic Party as political campaigning begins to gather steam toward the 6 November US national elections.

Republicans will meet in Tampa, Florida, at the end of August to formally nominate former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney as their candidate to oppose President Barack Obama in the November vote.

Obama will receive his party’s formal endorsement for a second term at the Democratic convention in the first week of September in Charlotte, North Carolina.

In addition to formally choosing their candidates, both party conventions will draw up a comprehensive political policy statement, known as a platform, to clarify and articulate the respective party’s goals and how to effect them.

Platforms typically are made up of sections or planks dealing with specific issues, such as education, fiscal policy, social welfare systems, medical care and reform, foreign policy, trade, and energy, among many others.

The API on Tuesday asked that the two major parties include an energy plank in their platforms that would commit the federal government to allowing and encouraging more energy industry access to oil and gas resources in federal lands offshore and onshore, and ensure that federal regulations of energy development and use are based on science, cost-benefit analysis and reasonable implementation schedules.

API president Jack Gerard also urged the parties to adopt platform policies to allow more efficient and timely permitting processes for onshore and offshore drilling.

The API “Report to the Platform Committees” also calls for the next administration to give immediate approval for construction of the 1,700-mile Keystone XL pipeline project.

“The plan we describe,” said Gerard, “offers both the Democratic and Republican parties a fact-based, common sense path to choose when writing their statement of beliefs and principles into party platforms this summer.”

He said that the API hoped the report would stimulate political debate and provide information to voters and policymakers that “is not about a political party or candidate, but instead focused on encouraging voters, all voters, to make energy a ballot box issue this year”.

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

By: Joe Kamalick
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