Oil company executives challenge candidates’ energy policy

Oil Company Executives Challenge Candidates’ Energy Policy


Tuesday is Super Tuesday. It is the day when voters in 14 states, including Texas, will go to the ballot box and elect their party’s nominations for public office.

The Democrat Party in each state will select delegates in support of their candidate for President to challenge President Donald Trump in November. With 1,617 delegates at stake on Tuesday, it is the largest allocation during the primary season.

The leading candidates for the Democratic nomination – Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden – have been very critical of the oil and gas industry. Their comments include limiting drilling, banning hydraulic fracturing, and even criminal prosecution of oil company executives for release of greenhouse gases.

Their comments have caught the attention of the oil industry, and 54 oil and gas company executives cosigned an open letter that appeared as an advertisement in The New York Times on Feb. 24.

The Western Energy Alliance purchased the ad that stated: “Sen. Bernie Sanders calls oil and natural gas executives criminal. Vice Pres. Joe Biden wants us in jail. Sen. Elizabeth Warren calls us corrupt.”

The ad continued: “Were we to be prosecuted, as you promise, and forced to stop providing our life-sustaining products, 10.3 million jobs and hundreds of billions of dollars would be sent overseas to import the energy that Americans rely on. So we will continue to produce the environmentally responsible energy that powers America and enables a healthy, safe, and modern way of life.”

Western Energy Alliance President Kathleen Sgamma in a statement questioned how it’s “politically viable to promise to do away with American energy.”

“From banning fracking to eliminating leasing on federal lands, the agenda of these candidates would not only kill millions of jobs in the United States, but do nothing to reduce our reliance on reliable, life-sustaining energy. Preventing American production would not change energy needs, but would simply shift production to unreliable countries like Russia, Saudi Arabia and Iran. How is it considered politically viable to promise to do away with American energy? We challenge candidates to recognize, as Presidents Trump, Obama, Bush, and Clinton have, that oil and natural gas produced in an environmentally responsible way here in America are a source for good in the world,” Sgamma said.

The ad depicts a young boy studying by a lantern light and mentions the International Energy Agency’s recent findings which show that the U.S. leads the world in reducing greenhouse gas emissions because of the rampant increase in natural gas electricity generation across the country. The IEA said U.S. emissions declined last year “from their peak in the year 2000, the largest absolute decline by any country over that period.”

“A 15 percent reduction in the use of coal for power generation underpinned the decline in overall US emissions in 2019,” the agency said. “Coal-fired power plants faced even stronger competition from natural gas-fired generation, with benchmark gas prices an average of 45 percent lower than 2018 levels. As a result, gas increased its share in electricity generation to a record high of 37 percent.”

Alex Mills is the former President of the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers.

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Alex Mills is the former President of the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers. The Alliance is the largest state oil and gas associations in the nation with more than 3,000 members in 305 cities and 28 states.


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