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September 26, 2016

The U.S. Energy Revolution Is Vital To Growth, So How Do Candidates Feel About It?

The Metals Service Center Institute (MSCI) has consistently argued for an “all of the above” energy policy that protects our energy security by expanding domestic energy production to efficiently and affordably deliver power to our nation’s industrial metals industry. 

Specifically, MSCI has called for establishing a national energy policy that focuses on both renewables and non-renewables from all domestic sources and supports rationalizing the permitting requirements and approval process for new energy production and transmission facilities, opening more federal lands to oil and gas exploration, and enhancing offshore drilling. 

MSCI’s partners at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy last week released a report that looks backward and outlines what would have happened in the energy sector over the last several years if the opposite approach had been taken and if there had been widespread bans on hydraulic fracturing, greater restrictions on the development of energy resources on federal lands, limits on or opposition to private sector investments in new pipeline infrastructure, and additional punitive tax policies placed on certain sectors. According to the Institute, if these policies had taken hold:

  • There would be 4.3 million fewer jobs in the United States today;
  • The U.S. gross domestic product would be $500 billion lower;
  • Electricity prices would be 31 percent higher;
  • Gas prices would be 43 percent higher;
  • Residential natural gas prices would be 28 percent higher and industrial natural gas prices would be 94 percent higher; and
  • The manufacturing sector would have suffered $47 billion in lost economic opportunity, nearly $25 billion in lost labor income, and 387,500 jobs fewer jobs in 2015.

The Institute also argues the recent energy revolution, driven largely by natural gas, improved the U.S. environment. The report found that the shift from oil to natural gas “has contributed to a net decrease of power-sector carbon dioxide emissions of 19 percent over the past decade.” 

Also last week: the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) released a tool that compares the leading presidential candidates on these, and other, public policy issues. According to CFR, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton:

  • Supports a global initiative to reduce climate pollutants;
  • Wants to install more than half a billion solar panels by the end of her first term and produce enough renewable energy to power every U.S. home within ten years;
  • Supports President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan;
  • Wants a “broad federal program” that would partner “states, cities, and rural communities on renewable energy, power grid resilience, and air pollution control”;
  • Opposes drilling in the U.S. Arctic and is “very skeptical” of offshore drilling;
  • Opposes construction of the Keystone XL pipeline;
  • Supports reducing tax incentives for oil and gas; and
  • Favors maintaining the current moratorium on new coal-mining leases.

Republican candidate Donald Trump:

  • Does not believe that climate change is a significant environmental challenge;
  • Wants to lead the country toward total energy independence while accounting for “rational environmental concerns” like clean air and water;
  • Supports expanding domestic production of oil and gas, including lifting moratoriums on energy production on federal lands and permitting the construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline;
  • Opposes President Obama’s Clean Power Plan and the Paris climate deal;
  • Wants to pursue all forms of energy, including renewables.