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Energy from the Party Perspective

Posted By Brian Hickman, Director of Government Affairs, Operations Managing Director, Monday, July 18, 2016

As the Republican National Convention comes to Cleveland this week, we thought it might be a good idea to look at what the two major U.S. political parties are saying about energy.

Republicans have focused their platform on utilizing America’s natural resources in an effort to achieve energy independence. “We support domestic energy production of clean coal and hydropower, as well as solar, wind, geothermal and nuclear power. And we support drilling for oil and natural gas in an environmentally responsible way,” claims the GOP’s website.

Republicans also want regulations that encourage investment, lowers energy prices, and creates jobs. Republicans site recent EPA regulations (including air regulations and the “sue and settle” process) as deter mental to the American consumer and economy. 

As you might have guessed, Democrats see things a little differently. According to their website, Democrats think that the time to rely upon “unsustainable energy sources” from the past is the “status quo by special interests”. Their website touts clean-energy technologies that are paving the way for a sustainable energy future. Democrats also see a “transition to clean energy” as a way to grow the American economy.

Curiously, with this as a background, Democrats go on to tout that under President Obama domestic oil production is at an eight-year high while dependence on foreign oil is at a sixteen-year low. This is in part due to speeding up the leasing process and improving safety, which has in turn expanded domestic oil production.  

While the general nature of these policies should remain, the degree and focus of them is destined to change in the coming campaign. For Democrats, the campaign of Bernie Sanders had a large focus on energy specifically oil and gas production and hydraulic fracturing. One could expect the party to lean closer to this view, which would be to ban hydraulic fracturing, further reject the keystone pipeline, and ban offshore drilling of oil and gas, in an effort to ensure the votes of former Sanders supporters.

For Republicans, one could expect a stronger message and support of fossil fuels. For the Trump campaign to be successful, swing Midwest states (specifically Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Michigan) will be needed for support. These states would benefit from enhanced energy production, be it oil, natural gas or coal. Trump must secure these Midwestern states in most election models to gain the Presidency.

As we head into the campaign season, one can only claim that anything can happen this year. I mean, the city of Cleveland did win a professional sports title, right?    

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