Much rides on US elections for chemical producers, refiners

05 November 2012 22:24  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS)--On the eve of what many consider a game-changing US national election, chemical producers and refiners said on Monday that the outcome will affect public policy and business interests well beyond the next four years.

“The election for president will set the course of public policy for many years to come, and the choices between President Obama and Governor Romney couldn’t be more stark,” said Bill Allmond, vice president for government relations at the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates (SOCMA).

SOCMA and its specialty chemical and batch producers have earlier expressed concern over the possible regulatory consequences in a second four-year term for President Barack Obama.

Democrat Obama is being challenged by former Massachusetts governor and Republican Mitt Romney, who is broadly favoured among US business interests.

According to most polls, the two candidates are running neck-and-neck as the nation is set to vote on Tuesday.

“Whoever emerges as the victor will be in a position to advance forward, or pull back, on a number of issues,” said Allmond, ranging from “the economy to national defence, to industry regulations and taxes”.

Charles Drevna, president of the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), said that Tuesday’s vote will determine the nation’s energy future and the ability of petrochemical firms to compete globally.

“Economic and national security for any nation are directly linked to its ability to develop its domestic energy resources,” Drevna said, “while providing a regulatory environment that allows it to competitively manufacture those resources into the fuels and petrochemicals that make modern life possible.”

“Our nation is blessed with an abundance of the energy resources required to not only achieve our economic and national security, but to become a major force in the global energy picture,” Drevna said.

“All we need is the political will to do so,” he added.

“The results of the election will undoubtedly decide what path our nation will choose,” he said. Drevna has earlier accused the Obama administration of being demonstrably opposed to fossil energy.

Allmond noted that Obama and Romney “have two very differing philosophies about how to grow the economy, and that’s what makes the decision so important”.

“One party believes that government is a conduit for job growth, and the other believes it is a hindrance for job growth,” Allmond said.

“The real question is which candidate will incentivise innovation on the one hand without undermining it on the other,” he said.

In addition to the vote on the presidency, all 435 seats in the US House of Representatives are in contention, along with about one-third of the seats in the 100-member Senate.

Republicans are expected to retain their majority in the House, although with some losses, while the political shape of the Senate is in play, with Democrats there hoping to hang on to a slim one-vote majority in that chamber.

The presidential race is so close, with Obama and Romney tied in most national polls, that some observers worry that the contest for the White House might not be known for several days.

This year's presidential contest is also seen as particularly critical because the next chief executive is expected to name as many as three new justices to the nine-member US Supreme Court, and those lifetime appointments to the high court could heavily influence national policies for as much as three decades.

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


By: Joe Kamalick
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