The American Petroleum Institute (API), the nation’s top fossil fuel industry group, is launching an eight-figure national television and digital advertising buy to educate voters and policymakers on key energy policy issues ahead of the 2024 elections.
The group’s ad blitz, dubbed the Lights on Energy campaign, will highlight how continued domestic oil and gas production is vital for meeting global energy demands, according to API which previewed the campaign for FOX Business. The campaign — which will involve regional targeting in Washington, D.C., and key states — will further work to “dismantle” policy threats, including those the Biden administration has pursued as part of its climate agenda.
“The goal of the campaign is really to educate voters and policymakers on what’s at stake for American energy going forward,” API President and CEO Mike Sommers told FOX Business in an interview. “The real concern that we have is that some of the policy decisions that this administration has made over its first few years could really sow the seeds for the next energy crisis if we don’t make the right decisions in the next year.”
Sommers added that the campaign is timed to inform voters and policymakers, especially “as the election campaign season really heats up.”
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API’s campaign is expected to be formally launched on Wednesday during the group’s 2024 State of American Energy event. And it comes amid the Biden administration’s aggressive push to rapidly decarbonize the U.S. economy by curbing oil and gas reliance while green-lighting green energy development, an agenda which has sparked pushback from API and other industry players.
The Lights on Energy campaign will highlight how energy demand is growing with both the global and American population expected to grow significantly in the coming decades. America’s oil and natural gas “are a strategic advantage that our nation must harness” to meet such demand, the campaign states.
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“We still get 70% of our energy from oil and gas,” Sommers told FOX Business. “These energy transitions take a very long time. In fact, we’ve never transitioned from one fuel to another. What we’ve really done is we have added new kinds of energy as the world needs more energy.”
“So, of course, wind and solar are going to play a very significant role going forward,” he said. “But the baseload energy is still going to come from oil and gas. And if we don’t make the right investment decisions, which flow from the right policy decisions, we’re going to be in a world of hurt years down the road.”
According to federal data, 60% of domestic electricity is generated by fossil fuels, the vast majority of the transportation sector is powered by petroleum and other sectors like agriculture and manufacturing are also deeply reliant on oil and gas.
Among its top priorities for 2024, Sommers said API will continue to advocate for the federal government to authorize more fossil fuel lease sales, which he said are a key tool to guarantee long-term production. The White House has pointed to record domestic oil production levels in recent months, but Sommers noted that that production has originated from lease sales held under prior administrations.
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Shortly after taking office, President Biden immediately took steps to curb oil and gas production on federal lands, issuing a moratorium on all new fossil fuel leasing, a move he promised as part of his climate-focused campaign platform. While that action was ultimately struck down by multiple courts, the administration has since pursued a pared-back oil and gas leasing program despite a legal requirement to hold quarterly lease sales.
In addition, the administration has reluctantly held required lease sales in federal waters and finalized the most-restrictive offshore oil drilling plan in U.S. history last month. Under its final five-year offshore oil and gas leasing program, the Department of the Interior will hold just three Gulf of Mexico lease sales through 2029, marking a stark departure from plans finalized under both Democratic and Republican administrations.
At the same time, the administration — through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Energy and other agencies — has unveiled a string of regulations targeting the oil and gas industry which Sommers said presented producers with significant uncertainty. The EPA, for example, is currently pursuing regulations targeting fossil fuel-fired power plants, gas-powered cars and soot emissions of the manufacturing industry.
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“This industry wants regulatory certainty and we would welcome the opportunity to work with the administration on getting those regulations right to provide for American energy development going forward,” Sommers continued.