Jack Gerard, president and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute, called on the new leadership in Washington to release strains of what the energy industry's lobby group sees as burdensome regulations. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo
WASHINGTON, Jan. 5 (UPI) -- The leading oil and gas lobbying group in the United States called on leaders in Washington to release the reins of regulation for the sake of the nation.
"It is our view that regulations that do not align with those basic and commonsense goals should be reexamined, revised or removed to make way for smarter and forward-looking energy policies," Jack Gerard, the president and CEO at the American Petroleum Institute, said in an annual address in Washington.
The incoming administration of Donald Trump has vowed to make it so the United States is no longer dependent on other countries for its natural resources. Trump, in a statement outlining his energy policies, envisions a United States that's a net energy exporter by encouraging more onshore and offshore energy production.
The API, which lobbies on behalf of the oil and gas industry, said Trump's administration could unravel regulatory burdens standing in the way of a more robust U.S. energy sector. By Gerard's estimate, more than 140 regulations or executive actions were enacted under President Barack Obama that work against, not for, the industry's objectives.
Total U.S. oil production when Obama entered office in 2009 was 5.3 million barrels per day. The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates a 2016 average of 8.9 million bpd, a 66 percent increase.
Naomi Ages, a climate attorney for the U.S. branch of Greenpeace, said in a statement sent to UPI that Trump would likely stack his Cabinet with industry leaders from the private and energy sectors to help push policy in favor of the oil and gas business. Rex Tillerson, a former CEO at Exxon Mobil and nominated secretary of state, has a record of close cooperation with the API.
Gerard estimates about 90 percent of U.S. territorial waters are off limits to oil and natural gas companies. If uncorked, he said it grow the economy by about $70 billion per year.
"Just imagine what the industry could do to further benefit consumers, the economy and the environment if more of that energy were available for responsible and safe domestic production," he said in a statement.
In late December, the Obama administration joined the Canadian government in banning oil and gas work in Arctic and Atlantic waters. A report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration finds the Arctic basins alone hold about 22 percent of the world's undiscovered conventional oil and natural gas resources.