By Lori LeBlanc, LMOGA Offshore Committee Director
for BIC Magazine
American energy might not be as emotional or trendy as some of the other issues voters are faced with this election season, but for those of us in South Louisiana, it might just be one of the most important economic issues of the presidential campaigns.
We know where the candidates stand on lightning rod topics like immigration reform, gun control and universal health care, but what about our national energy policy? How might the election impact American energy producers in the Gulf of Mexico and our energy workers? These are important questions as we prepare to enter the voting booth Nov. 8.
Navigating through campaign websites as well as media reports of candidate speeches, it becomes clear the candidates have vastly different priorities when it comes to producing energy to fuel America and securing the high-paying jobs of the energy industry.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign website at HillaryClinton.com does not feature energy policy at the time of this writing, but according to other sources, renewable energy is the focus of the energy plan. In a July 19 article on OilPrice.com, author Nick Cunningham reports Democrats are calling for an 80-percent reduction in greenhouse gas, oppose drilling in the Atlantic and Arctic Ocean, and support a “phase down” of fossil fuel extraction on public lands.
In addition, the Democratic Party platform contends America must be running entirely on clean energy by mid-century and commits to securing 50 percent of American electricity from clean sources within a decade, including “half a billion solar panels installed within four years and enough renewable energy to power every home in the country.” Democrats believe carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases should be priced to “reflect their negative externalities, and to accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy.”
The party advocates for more stringent oversight by the EPA over hydraulic fracturing and supports President Obama’s rejection of the Keystone Pipeline. The current administration has recently issued offshore regulations that lack substantive benefits, like the offshore air rule and new financial assurance policies, but the Democratic platform does not indicate any change to this regulatory approach.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has said he will remove obstacles for energy exploration and support all forms of energy without picking “winners and losers,” according to Matthew Rocco on FoxBusiness.com. This corresponds to the candidate’s “America First Energy Plan,” published on DonaldJTrump.com. In this plan, Trump vows to make land in the Outer Continental Shelf available to produce oil and natural gas, lift restrictions on American energy and ask TransCanada to renew its permit application for the Keystone Pipeline.
“Donald Trump is committed to an ‘all of the above’ energy plan that would encourage, not discourage, the use of natural gas and other American energy resources that will both reduce emissions but also reduce the price of energy and increase our economic output,” according to the website. The campaign also calls for a temporary pause on new regulations and a review of previous regulations to determine which are necessary and which should be considered for repeal.
Energy is also a key component of the 2016 Republican Party platform. The party “supports the opening of public lands and the Outer Continental Shelf to exploration and responsible production,” respects “the states’ proven ability to regulate the use of hydraulic fracturing” and opposes any carbon tax.
At LMOGA, we know America does not have to choose between protecting the environment and creating good-paying jobs, because here in Louisiana, we have demonstrated we can do both. Our offshore energy industry employs thousands of workers and fuels America, while also helping to preserve our coastal environment and unique wildlife and fisheries. It’s imperative American energy policy include oil and gas produced in America’s Gulf.
Learn more about the candidates’ energy proposals, and vote Nov. 8!