ENERGY POLICY:

API's wish list features EPA regs, offshore drilling, fracking

The oil and gas industry's main trade group today is ramping up pressure on the new Congress to pass energy legislation that spurs increased production of domestic oil and natural gas.

The American Petroleum Institute's annual "State of American Energy" calls on Congress and the Obama administration to create policies that could pave the way for oil and gas drillers to explore in the Gulf of Mexico, in the Atlantic Ocean and off the coast of Alaska despite a beefed up safety regime in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill last summer.

"On the one hand, even in this challenging economic climate -- one where people are looking for ways to create jobs, boost revenue and spur investment -- our industry has a great story to tell," API President and CEO Jack Gerard said today during a speech in Washington. "But on the other hand, without policies that encourage the continued safe and reliable production of our domestic oil and natural gas resources, the story will get much gloomier."

The report blasts U.S. EPA's recent regulation of greenhouse gas emissions and urges Congress not to enact policies that would stifle use of hydraulic fracturing, technology that is used to tap vast natural gas reserves trapped in compact shale formations. The trade group is also strongly opposed to proposed new energy tax increases that the group says would stifle energy production and affect the entire economy.

"Oil and natural gas have been and will continue to be engines of economic development around the world," the report says. "For at least the next several decades, we will continue to rely on oil and natural gas to meet growing energy demand, even as we improve energy efficiency, and as renewables and alternatives play an increasingly important role in a changing energy landscape."

API says the oil and gas industry directly supports more than 9.2 million domestic jobs and contributes more than $1 trillion to the economy.

"Given this energy reality, in the months and years ahead, the nation has important decisions to make about its energy future," the report says. "What we need today -- and tomorrow -- are policy choices that increase, not decrease, energy production."

API also uses the report to voice its support for approval of a pipeline that would connect Canadian oil sands with U.S. energy markets.

"It is time for a new focus on energy policy, and we remain committed to working with all policymakers to identify solutions that will advance our country's economic interests and sustain our way of life," the report says.

Click here to read the report.

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