What the Energy Industry Wants toHear from Our Next President

What the Energy Industry Wants to Hear from Our Next President

From the recent Republican debates, to headline news from the administration, voters across the United States have begun to focus their attention on the upcoming presidential election. Unfortunately, many are left with more questions than answers as they evaluate the potential candidates vying to be the next executive of our nation. But for those in the energy industry, the impact of this election weighs heavier than ever before.

Uniquely, energy workers are both producers and consumers of energy. The same energy they produce not only feeds their families but keeps the lights on and our economy powered. As millions tuned into California this past week, the men and women working in the energy industry watched carefully, apprehensive about the direction of our nation.

While primary campaigns for both political parties ramp up, it is all but certain that the energy industry, the work that we do, and our jobs are key campaign issues for every candidate. Energy workers represent a significant voting population across the United States, with the industry supporting 10.3 million jobs and nearly eight percent of the nation’s GDP. The energy workforce is concerned about the direction that our nation is headed and the potential ramifications if a change in the policies surrounding our industry is not embraced.

From the early days of World War II to the technological revolution of today, the energy workforce has never encountered a challenge it did not meet head-on, evolving over the decades. As an industry, we have invested the resources to improve the efficiency of traditional oil and gas production while developing new technologies to expand the energy mix and reduce emissions.

The individuals working in the energy industry are looking for the next president to renew regulatory certainty, to ensure the industry’s ability to access capital and empower job creators to recruit and retain a skilled workforce.

Despite continuously outperforming the ever-changing standards, the energy industry is far too often vilified, being painted in a negative light as we produce the energy that keeps our nation powered. The fact is the U.S. oil and gas industry is leading the charge on lowering emissions and diversifying the energy mix.

Unfortunately, we have recently seen the federal government use regulatory practices to unfairly target the energy industry, interrupting production or all but stopping day-to-day operations. Further, negative rhetoric targeting the industry has impacted the ability to recruit and retain a skilled workforce while demand for laborers continues to skyrocket. Presidential candidates must consider how they can institute policies that will bring labor into the industry rather than away, creating long-term sustainability.

Far too often, the energy industry is granted a permit to begin exploration or construction of facilities, only to have the permit revoked as part of a political act. Offshore, we have been dealing with an administration that continues to use every potential delay tactic possible to avoid following the law and holding offshore lease sales. Our next president must follow the law and implement clear regulations backed by facts that are openly communicated to those that they seek to regulate.

In the U.S., we need candidates to commit to serving as a partner to the energy industry in the production of reliable, affordable, U.S.-produced oil and gas. While the industry works to continue to reduce emissions and streamline efficiency, we must have the breathing room to meet modern challenges. With increased federal support, the United States energy industry will be able to provide oil and gas cleaner and more efficiently than other nations.

The energy workforce is agile, adapting over the years to meet each new challenge, modernizing our technology and equipment at a breakneck pace. As an industry, we have continuously evolved, empowering the workforce of today and tomorrow. The spirit of hard work and innovation are defining characteristics of our workforce. It is time for our next president to embody these same characteristics, helping the energy industry fuel daily activities and drive prosperity for our nation.

Author profile
Molly Determan

Molly Determan is President at the Energy Workforce & Technology Council, the national trade association for the global energy technology and services sector, representing more than 665,000 U.S. jobs in the technology-driven energy value chain. 

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