Energy industry lobbying arm lays out wish list for White House hopefuls

August 4, 2015

WASHINGTON — As Republican presidential candidates prepare for their first debate on Thursday, the leader of the nation’s top oil industry trade group said it’s time for them to provide more details about their plans for U.S. energy policy.

“Those who seek to represent us must go beyond the talking points and outline a clear vision for energy that will advance our nation’s economy, security and standard of living,” said American Petroleum Institute president Jack Gerard.

API’s clear preference is for candidates who will “pursue an American future of energy abundance, self-determination and global leadership,” as Gerard put it. But for now, with nearly two dozen serious declared Republican and Democratic contenders, Gerard said it’s most important that they all start talking.

“We’re encouraging all of them — Democrats, Republicans, socialists — to start talking about your issues,” he said. “Start telling us where you stand because we want the American public to know.”

To be fair, the first Republican presidential debate may not be the ideal forum for an in-depth energy policy discussion. The two-hour affair kicks off at 8 p.m. CST Thursday on Fox News, with only 10 of the top-polling GOP candidates able to participate on the main stage. (Other candidates that don’t make the cut can take part in separate “kid’s table” event earlier Thursday).

And the sheer volume of participants means there will be little time for weighty energy talk, much less the kind of detail Gerard is seeking.

“The more that group gets winnowed down and the fewer the numbers there are, the discussion of the issues will become more detailed and more focused just frankly because they’ll have more time to talk about it,” Gerard said.


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