Oil and gas industry fuels up advocacy arm for 2016

Getty Images

The American Petroleum Institute is reviving its election advocacy arm in an attempt to convince voters to choose candidates who support the priorities of the oil and natural gas industry in 2016.

The lobbying group's Vote4Energy campaign started in 2012, challenging voters to commit their votes to candidates who support causes like oil exports, ending the ethanol mandate and expanding offshore drilling.

Since the American Petroleum Institute's (API) effort is a voter education campaign, it is not subject to election campaign rules. But it also cannot endorse any candidates, nor can it donate to them.

“We will work to advance a productive, fact-based national energy policy discussion through the 2016 election and beyond,” API President Jack Gerard said at a Tuesday re-launch event. “Vote4Energy is focused on a bright energy future benefiting all Americans and will guide the energy policy discussion away from partisanship and political ideology and demagoguery that argues for less.”

Gerard said the campaign won’t focus only on the presidential race, and instead spread to Congress, state races and more.

“Vote4Energy will stay above partisanship,” he said. “It won’t target a particular person, nor be limited to a specific region. Our campaign captures the fundamental energy policy question we face; the heart of America’s energy policy discussion and decision: whether to pursue an American future of energy abundance, self-sufficiency and global leadership or take a step back to the era of American energy scarcity, dependence and economic uncertainty.”

To coincide with the relaunch of the group, API unveiled a study it commissioned that concluded that the United States would add 2.3 million jobs and $443 billion per year to the economy by 2035 if it adopted industry-favored energy policies.

Those policies including increased offshore drilling, easier permitting for onshore drilling, stopping the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ozone pollution rule and ending the ethanol mandate, among others.