President Barack Obama’s reelection drew enthusiastic applause from environmental activists, muted congratulations from the oil industry and plenty of advice for the future from both camps.
Environmentalists widely hailed Obama’s second-term win as a victory for policies to advance renewable power, curb domestic energy use and cut pollution. But, they challenged Obama to stick to those policies during a second term and insisted more needs to be done to combat climate change.
Oil and gas industry leaders, meanwhile, praised Obama’s campaign trail promises to support domestic natural gas production, but pleaded for relief from newly proposed regulations governing drilling on federal lands and the threat of more federal mandates governing the hydraulic fracturing process that has helped unlock fossil fuels trapped in dense rock formations.
Here’s a look at some of the initial responses to Obama’s win from energy and environmental leaders:
“We congratulate President Obama on his re-election and look forward to continuing to work with his administration over the next four years on issues related to American natural gas, a powerful engine of job creation. Natural gas is revitalizing our nation’s manufacturing base and giving our nation a more competitive position in the global economy, and as President Obama has said, ‘We have a supply of natural gas that can last America nearly 100 years.’”
— Marcellus Shale Coalition President Kathryn Klaber
“The power of oil and natural gas development in revitalizing our economy has been a central theme throughout this campaign season. America’s independent oil and natural gas companies have spearheaded a true energy revolution, causing U.S. manufacturing to return to the mainland and creating much-need jobs for the middle class. This is all possible because of the sophisticated, safe technologies of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, which have unlocked vast reserves of energy previously trapped in shale. IPAA appreciates President Obama’s affirmation of natural gas as an abundant and affordable energy source that will supply the United States for more than 100 years. However, IPAA has serious concerns about energy policies the Obama administration has implemented over the past four years, which taken together, demonstrate a fundamental misunderstanding of the natural gas and oil industry in the United States. … Right now, more than twelve federal agencies seek to regulate oil and natural gas development, a jurisdiction that the states have historically and successfully regulated. One-size-fits-all regulations from Washington that duplicate what regulators are doing at the state level threaten new supplies of energy and make it next to impossible for independents to operate on federal lands, both onshore and offshore.”
— Virginia “Gigi” Lazenby, chairman of the Independent Petroleum Association of America and chairman of Bretagne, LLC
“We look forward to continuing our work with the president and helping him fulfill his campaign promise to increase domestic oil and natural gas production that will create American jobs and strengthen our economy. With both candidates supporting more development of America’s vast oil and natural gas resources, energy is a big winner in this election. Right off the bat, the president can approve the Keystone Pipeline and put thousands of Americans to work immediately. He can acknowledge the effective role states are already playing in regulating oil and natural gas production and avoid the temptation to impose duplicative and unnecessary regulations on hydraulic fracturing. By following through on his own executive order to eliminate overly burdensome regulations, he can rein in EPA’s plans to impose regulatory burdens that could cost businesses hundreds of billions of dollars and chill economic growth.”
— API President Jack Gerard
“From its role in economic development to what it means for our national security, President Obama has recognized the many benefits of natural gas. … It is only through smart, efficient policies and coordination with policy makers at all levels that we will be able to meet our nation’s energy goals, and there is no doubt natural gas has a significant role in our energy future. …Our nation has an unprecedented domestic supply of natural gas that can meet our current and even increased demands at reasonable and relatively stable prices. Natural gas utilities can make the most of this promise by working with customers and local policy makers to leverage the efficient use of natural gas in thermal applications, expand access to natural gas vehicle fueling infrastructure, increase the use of combined heat and power technologies and explore how micro-grids can help communities address their energy needs.”
— Dave McCurdy, president and CEO of the American Gas Association
“The natural gas pipeline industry looks forward to working with President Obama and the new Congress to ensure that legislation and regulation does not hinder the development of natural gas and the pipeline infrastructure needed to transport this abundant, clean-burning domestic fuel. We appreciate President Obama’s repeated statements about the benefits of natural gas to the nation’s economy and consumers. Our industry stands ready to help America reach its energy potential—while creating jobs and economic prosperity—by continuing to serve as the indispensable link between natural gas producers and consumers.”
— Don Santa, president and CEO of the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America
“There was only one candidate in this race who doubled down on our nation’s clean energy economy. There was only one candidate who consistently fought to hold oil and coal companies accountable and only one candidate who stood up for landmark protections to keep toxins out of our air and water. And there was only one candidate who took historic steps to mitigate the climate crisis. Because of those positions, President Obama faced an unprecedented assault from deep-pocketed oil and coal execs who inundated the airwaves with millions of dollars in attack ads.”?
— Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune
“The American people have rejected the candidate who mocked the threat of climate change on behalf of the carbon industry. Americans of all political persuasions agree that the president’s job is to explain existing threats to the public welfare, and lead the nation in tackling them head on. Obama’s forthright response to the immediate disaster of Superstorm Sandy demonstrated his ability to lead in a crisis. Now he must tackle the root causes of that disaster, including the terrible scourge of carbon pollution. The campaign over, President Obama must end his climate silence and speak out. …Talking about climate change will not be enough. What is needed is bold action, and that will require overcoming any number of practical and political challenges. … Words alone won’t save us, but silence seals our fate. It’s time for President Obama’s silence to end.”
–ClimateSilence.Org and Forecast the Facts
“With the election behind him and Sandy’s full impact still mounting, President Obama has an opportunity and an obligation to press the case for stronger climate action. … While Sandy’s lessons are still fresh, the president should be clear about the urgency of cutting carbon emissions and strengthening critical infrastructure to protect Americans against the rising costs of climate change. We urge President Obama to ensure that EPA pushes forward with strong, sensible greenhouse gas standards and allows states to meet them with market-based approaches. We also urge the president and Congress to place climate change alongside the nation’s other pressing challenges, and to consider approaches such as a carbon tax that can help solve more than one at the same time.”
— Eileen Claussen, president of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions
In its first term, the Obama administration made real progress to reduce harmful emissions and shift the country toward cleaner energy. … But, these actions aren’t enough. The reality is that the Obama Administration has not yet put the country on a pathway to truly confront the climate crisis. First off, the United States needs a strong national climate and energy strategy. The president should begin by re-engaging a dialogue on climate change and identifying the actions needed to address the crisis. The president should work with Congress on national-level policies, including putting a price on carbon, to get the country on a low-carbon trajectory. In addition, the EPA, in particular, has the ability to implement new standards to reduce dangerous greenhouse gases from existing power plants. The president should reject proposals that would over-exploit America’s resources, decimate its lands, or increase its dependence on high-carbon fuels.”
— Andrew Steer, president of the World Resources Institute
“Exit polls confirm that for millions of American voters, Hurricane Sandy and climate change were decisive factors in this election. As the historic storm just reminded us, we have no time to waste; we must get serious about climate solutions in order to protect our loved ones and communities from terrible impacts — extreme weather disasters, droughts, heat waves, and other dangerous consequences of global warming. Especially in the wake of Sandy, which demonstrated that doing nothing about climate change is much costlier than taking action, this issue clearly should be a top priority for our leaders in government.”
— Environmental Defense Fund President Fred Krupp
“Big Oil-backed special interests brought unlimited resources to bear this election cycle and were expected to overwhelm the presidential race. But voters … chose a different course – reelecting a president who has championed building a clean energy economy.”
— League of Conservation Voters President Gene Karpinski
“Despite the many differences between the candidates and their political supporters, both candidates agreed energy independence was an important national goal. We are pleased that both candidates publicly supported the Renewable Fuel Standard based on its proven success.”
— Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association
“This year has witnessed policy gridlock and economic stagnation. Now that the election is behind us, America’s business leaders are focused on making 2013 a better year for the U.S. economy. The White House and next Congress should … streamline the federal regulatory process while expediting approval of federal permits for major industrial and infrastructure projects and make U.S. energy systems more diverse, more domestic and more efficient.”
— Business Roundtable President John Engler
“During his first term, President Barack Obama strengthened the economy and created jobs by issuing executive orders improving fuel economy standards and advancing manufacturing and building efficiency. The president invested heavily in energy efficiency through the Recovery Act; weatherized more than a million homes; and made energy efficiency a central pillar and the ‘first fuel’ of choice for the nation. … We expect — and will press hard — for President Obama and his team to continue on this important path to make the United States the most energy productive country in the world.”
— Kateri Callahan, president of the Alliance to Save Energy