API head slams Keystone delay, launches domestic energy campaign

The head of the nation’s top oil industry trade group said policies that limit access to domestic oil and gas resources “are disconnected from reality” and chided an “onslaught of regulations” on the industry in his annual State of American Energy speech Wednesday.

American Petroleum Institute President Jack Gerard said the country is moving in the wrong direction in its approach to domestic energy resources, by stalling a federal decision on the Keystone XL pipeline and considering new regulations on hydraulic fracturing.

He asserted that promoting domestic production of oil and natural gas was akin to supporting job growth, national security and generation of revenue for government coffers.

Gerard took a swipe at opponents to the Keystone XL pipeline and environmentalists who “seem to be opposed to any oil and natural gas development.”

“Theirs is a vision that welcomes only certain energy investments and applauds only part of our abundant energy supplies,” he said. “They prevent us from adequately preparing for the long term, when our nation will still be demanding substantial quantities of oil and natural gas.”

Gerard also announced the launch of an election-year campaign “Vote4Energy,” while speaking at the Newseum in Washington D.C.

The national campaign, an effort to advance energy issues to the forefront of election season debates, will largely target Ohio, Pennsylvania and other states where production of natural gas from shale rock using hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has caused heated disputes between environmentalists and industry supporters.

Though the organization has railed against the Obama administration’s lack of action on the Keystone XL pipeline, Gerard said the campaign is non-partisan. He said the group is making a “significant investment” in the campaign, but did not specify how many dollars will be funneled into the organization’s effort to influence the public debate.

“Vote4Energy is not about a political party or candidates,” he said. “It’s not a party issue. It’s an American Issue.”

The Vote4Energy website touts the potential to generate jobs and revenue by approving the Keystone pipeline and expanding domestic drilling for oil and natural gas, using video, interactive features and social media.

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