Energy Policies Heat Up as Campaign Fodder; the Debate over Energy Policies and Environmental Regulations Might Play a Larger Role This Election Year, Especially in Pennsylvania, as Oil and Gas Production Becomes a Key Economic Issue and Advocacy Groups Appeal to Voters. [Derived Headline]

By Conti, David | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 6, 2016 | Go to article overview

Energy Policies Heat Up as Campaign Fodder; the Debate over Energy Policies and Environmental Regulations Might Play a Larger Role This Election Year, Especially in Pennsylvania, as Oil and Gas Production Becomes a Key Economic Issue and Advocacy Groups Appeal to Voters. [Derived Headline]


Conti, David, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


The debate over energy policies and environmental regulations might play a larger role this election year, especially in Pennsylvania, as oil and gas production becomes a key economic issue and advocacy groups appeal to voters.

Republican presidential candidates could push the issue in key states where energy production relates to jobs and where Democrats might want to distance themselves from the Obama administration's legacy of environmental regulation, political analysts say.

"It's going to be in play among Pennsylvania voters because it transcends so many other policy areas: economic policy, foreign policy, national security, environmental protection," said Christopher Borick, a political science professor at Muhlenberg College. "Even when it's not framed as energy, it has such broad implications, it's going to be prominent."

Republican candidate Jeb Bush announced his proposed energy policy -- which centers on repealing anti-fossil fuel regulations -- during a rally last fall at the Washington County headquarters of shale gas producer Rice Energy.

The American Petroleum Institute, the nation's largest oil and gas lobbyist, has been airing television ads through its Vote4Energy campaign that features people listing industry accomplishments and one speaker saying, "I vote to keep it going."

API President Jack Gerard said Tuesday in his annual State of American Energy address that he expects the issues to play a bigger role than normal in election-year discussions and Vote4Energy will play a role.

The group hasn't chosen a candidate to back but Gerard said the next president will have a choice: "to continue the United States' positive role of energy abundance, global leadership, domestic economic opportunity and environmental improvement or to dismantle the progress we've made by implementing policies borne from political ideology and unmoored to science or to fact."

He cited nearly 100 pending federal regulations that target his industry -- giving particular attention to rules limiting methane emissions from the oil and gas operations and carbon from power plants -- saying they threaten economic growth and jobs. Federal regulations have punished coal mining and limited drilling on federal lands, industry groups say.

Republicans running for president or Congress might be successful seizing on that kind of message.

"Most Republicans are pretty lockstep in supporting the Keystone pipeline, supporting fracking, and in being vocal against the EPA regulations," said Brandon Rottinghaus, a political science professor at the University of Houston. …

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Energy Policies Heat Up as Campaign Fodder; the Debate over Energy Policies and Environmental Regulations Might Play a Larger Role This Election Year, Especially in Pennsylvania, as Oil and Gas Production Becomes a Key Economic Issue and Advocacy Groups Appeal to Voters. [Derived Headline]
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