Politicians should heed the opinion of most Americans and help promote the expansion of natural gas and oil exploration, including the Keystone XL pipeline — or risk being kicked out of office, says Jack Gerard, CEO of the American Petroleum Institute.
"I think what's going to happen is the country is going to continue to support more and more development of this resource," Gerard told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
"I think many of the politicians are going to have to get aligned with the American people or they're not going to be public officials for very long,'' he said Wednesday.
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Gerard, whose national trade association represents oil and natural gas producers, says the industry leads the world in advanced technologies, including the green industry.
"We have invested more than the federal government invests to get those breakthrough technologies … We're the leaders in it," Gerard said Wednesday.
He noted his group was not surprised at President Barack Obama's declaration two years ago that algae could one day be used to produce energy.
"This wasn't news to us. This was someone else getting on our band saying, 'Hey, that might be a good idea.' We've been working on it for years," Gerard said.
He said the oil and natural gas industries pay the U.S. government $86 million a day in tax revenue.
"No other industry compares with us in terms of the contribution we're making to run government. The return we get on that? Increased regulation, stymied, [and a] chilling effect [on] LNG exports.
"So, we've got to change this in the country," he said.
He said industry research shows 73 percent of Americans favor more oil and natural gas development.
"The public is with us. Now we've got to get the lagging indicators — the Congress and the president of the United States — to listen to the people. And let's take advantage of this and make America the energy superpower we can become," Gerard said.
He said the delay of the ambitious Keystone XL pipeline project by the Obama administration is inhibiting a substantial boost to the economy.
"Many people don't realize, we have over 81 pipelines today that cross the Canadian border with the United States. Canada is our No. 1 trading partner, including in energy. We rely on Canada a lot," Gerard said.
"We can become energy self-sufficient right here in North America in the next few years if we'll allow this relationship to continue to flourish. Ninety cents of every dollar we invest in Canada to develop that energy comes right back to our domestic economy in the form of purchased goods and services.''
Gerard says Obama has unfairly politicized the pipeline issue in protesting that there are still environmental issues to be studied.
"There was no reason for that. We had broad bipartisan support in the Congress, both in the House and the Senate,'' he said.
"But by politicizing this issue, it's sending a signal to our industry and others, saying 'Well, we're not sure we want your investment in the United States,' at a time we need it most to create jobs, including the pipeline."
Gerard said that according to the State Department the pipeline project would create about 42,000 jobs, and still the administration is opposed to it.
"That's why organized labor is coming after the president. They're tired of this nonsense.''
Gerard denied claims by the Obama administration that it has ushered in more exploration and granted more licenses in oil and gas than President George W. Bush did during his two terms.
"It's untrue. The Congressional Research Service just a few months ago put out another report that shows, of all the increases we've seen take place in the United States as we started to see this big energy boom, 96 percent of it comes from private and state land," he said.
"The president controls the federal land. It's the federal land where we're seeing a decrease in production, we're seeing a decrease in licenses.
"When you look at the president's actual track record versus what he claims, he loves to take credit for the increase of oil and gas production. Unfortunately, his policies have nothing to do with that."
Gerard said the United States has the opportunity to become a gas and oil superpower, to become energy self-sufficient, and to create thousands of jobs with the Keystone project.
"I don't think they're going to tolerate policies that stymie that potential," Gerard said.
"Don't interfere in the market, Mr. President. Let those energy sources that are most efficient, that are most low-cost to the consumer come forth and let them be our sources of energy.''
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