Energy Industry Gathers in D.C. as GOP Takes Control in Congress

WASHINGTON (The Dallas Morning News/TNS) -

Buoyed by the Republican majority taking control down the street at the Capitol, energy bigwigs gathered near the White House Tuesday to discuss the state of the American energy industry.

The mood surrounding the annual address by Jack Gerard, President of the American Petroleum Institute, was optimistic, despite lingering low prices for crude oil and a range of aggressive environmental regulations underway by the Obama administration.

“Exactly two months ago, voters sent a loud and clear message to elected leaders,” Gerard said in prepared remarks, recalling the midterm elections that resulted in a change of control in the Senate and a larger GOP majority in the House. “Americans have a clear preference for increased domestic energy production, specifically more U.S. oil and natural gas.”

Gerard urged Congress to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, which he said has been “needlessly delayed.”

That decision, absent legislation, rests with the Obama administration. If the Senate and House act, as promised, it still will be the president’s choice whether to veto the bill.

Gerard’s exhortation went well beyond the Keystone, and in general presented an orderly summation of the industry’s strong support of congressional Republicans’ plans to confront the Obama administration’s aggressive use of the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate pollution and other side effects of energy extraction.

“The fact is fossil fuels will continue to take the lead in providing most of the world’s energy needs well into this century,” he said. “We need to make sure that the small but vocal view of those who peddle the false choice between energy production and safe environmental stewardship do not prevail in their narrow view which is contradicted by the facts.”