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Oil Industry Group 'Hopeful' Trump Moves Forward with Keystone XL

(ISIS video screenshot)

WASHINGTON – Preventing “regulatory overreach” would likely be a top priority of the Trump administration since the president-elect has indicated he would revoke some restrictions imposed on “exploration technologies,” according to American Petroleum Institute (API) President and CEO Jack Gerard.

Gerard said he is “hopeful” the Trump administration would work with Congress to move forward with the Keystone XL pipeline project. After several years of considering the project that would have crossed the U.S.-Canadian border, President Obama finally said “no” to the pipeline in November 2015.

“As a candidate, President-elect Trump pledged to pursue an energy approach that would include ‘opening federal lands for oil and gas production, opening offshore areas, and revoking policies that are imposing unnecessary restrictions on innovation and exploration technologies.’ Polling confirms that a Trump administration that pursues such forward-thinking energy policies will have strong voter support behind it,” Gerard said on a conference call about the potential energy policies under the incoming administration.

“With the oil and natural gas industry facing 145 regulations or other policy-setting activities that could discourage production, preventing regulatory overreach should be a top priority,” he added.

Gerard said all energy forms should compete “fairly and consistently” without the government picking “winners and losers.”

He encouraged Trump to “take a close look” at the energy infrastructure permitting process.

“The Dakota pipeline and Keystone pipeline are examples. We need to build this infrastructure to benefit the American consumers, and so I am hopeful that on a bipartisan basis we can gather around and approach the infrastructure and release those investment dollars,” he said.

Gerard told reporters that a “combination of industry innovation, market forces and existing standards have proven effective for keeping hydraulic fracturing safe and reducing emissions of ozone, methane and carbon.”

According to Gerard, the U.S. currently leads the world in reduction of carbon emissions with “clean-burning natural gas driving emissions in the power sector to 25-year lows.”

He also said the U.S. is leading the world in oil and natural gas production, which has “created good-paying energy jobs, helped cut manufacturing costs and spurred small business activity throughout the nation.”

Gerard applauded President-elect Trump for pledging to rebuild U.S. infrastructure in his acceptance speech on election night.

“Building the pipelines and other energy infrastructure we need to keep pace with 21st century energy production could create more than one million shovel-ready jobs that do not rely on taxpayer funding,” he said. “Oil and natural gas pipelines transport energy at a 99.999 percent safety rate and investing in additional energy infrastructure will ensure we can continue to deliver affordable energy to homes and businesses throughout the nation.”

Asked whether the Trump administration should scrap the Paris climate agreement on cutting greenhouse gas emissions, which went into effect four days before Election Day, the API leader said he didn’t want to speak for the upcoming administration.

“As you know, they’ve got a lot on the plate. There is a lot of discretion, obviously… our thought would be, is let’s focus on what’s been demonstrated to work,” Gerard continued. “…That’s where we’d encourage people to go. Look at what works, look at the reality, and let’s try to find common cause. Let’s come together if we agree, that’s solutions are what we need to find.”

Harris Poll conducted an election night survey on behalf of API with 890 voters from across the U.S. with a sampling error of plus or minus 3 percent.

The poll found that 80 percent of voters support “increased development of U.S. oil and natural gas resources,” breaking down to 71 percent of Democrats, 94 percent of Republicans and 76 percent of independents.

Out of all respondents, 72 percent said they “oppose higher taxes that could decrease investment in energy production and reduce energy development,” including 62 percent of Democrats, 70 percent of independents and 86 percent of Republicans.

The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed requirements for more ethanol in gasoline and 75 percent of the poll respondents indicated concern about such a rule.