Presidential Debate Questions on Energy

by Kathleen Sgamma, Vice President of Government and Public Affairs on September 26, 2016 - 10:53am

Energy policy is very much part of the discussion this election cycle. It’s encouraging to see candidates are pro-actively addressing issues facing our industry even as environmental groups and others press the candidates.

Today’s debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is the first between the two major candidates and one of only a few between them. With so many important issues facing the country, only a limited number of questions on energy will be asked. Here are the questions Western Energy Alliance would pose on energy and public lands:

1. New American oil production over the last few years is the primary reason that world oil markets are glutted and gasoline prices are so low for consumers. Many people believe this was despite the efforts of the Obama Administration, which has imposed several new costly regulations on the oil and gas industry. Do you believe the president, as he did in a recent speech, should be asking Americans to thank him for low gasoline prices, or should he be thanking American oil companies, who through technical innovation and private investment are the ones who actually produced the huge new supply?

2. Hydraulic fracturing or fracking combined with horizontal drilling has enabled the United States to jump ahead of Russia and Saudi Arabia as the number one oil and natural gas producing country, preventing billions of dollars from going overseas, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs, and reducing gasoline prices for all Americans. Increased natural gas production and consumption has also enabled the United significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Given those benefits, do you support hydraulic fracturing?

3. Although states have been regulating fracking for years and EPA is one of many organizations that have studied fracking and determined that it is being conducted in a manner that’s protective of the environment and public health, the Obama Administration continues to add more regulations on oil and gas producers, many of which are redundant with state regulation. Would you continue to add new regulations on the industry, or would you take more of a cooperative approach with the states?

4. The Keep-It-in-the-Ground movement has been urging the government to stop leasing on federal lands as part of an effort to stop all domestic production of conventional fuels like oil, gas and coal. Many, including the Secretary of the Interior, have called this movement unrealistic, since America gets over 80% of its energy from these conventional fuels. Do you think there should be responsible production of energy on public lands, or should it all be stopped as many environmental groups want?

5. Regulations cost the American economy over $2 trillion every year, resulting in lost jobs and economic growth. By several measures, the pace and amount of new regulations is at an historic high during the Obama Administration. Do you think the amount of new regulation is at the right balance, and if not, what would you change?

E&E News included Western Energy Alliance in a story this morning with potential questions from a wide spectrum of stakeholders. We’ll see what gets asked at tonight’s and subsequent debates, and then it’s in the hands of the voters. 

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