We’re just a few short weeks away from the conclusion of one of the most contentious Presidential elections in recent memory. The candidates might be imperfect (to put it lightly), but like it or not, the American public will be dealing with the repercussions of voting day for years to come. Before we all shuffle into a booth on November 8, it’ll be important to understand the oil and gas policies of the primary candidates and how they’ll impact the industry in the years moving forward.
Let’s start with Hillary Clinton, the seasoned politician with the dubious past.
Eleven percent of polled Americans find the former Secretary of State trustworthy, a number that not only seems high but also casts doubt on her public statements concerning her plans for the oil and gas industry. Frankly, the voting public can trust very little of what Hillary says she’ll do.
So, in order to put our finger on what Clinton might actually do should she win office, it’s important to look at her connections to the industry as well as her documented plans for what’s next.
The Public Statement
Let’s start here, with Clinton’s publicly professed statements on oil and gas. Though you may have good reason to doubt them, it’s still important to know what the candidate said. So, let’s look at perhaps her most concise comments on the issue, which were captured in May:
“By the time we get through all of my conditions, I do not think there will be many places where fracking will continue to take place. And I think that’s the best approach … first, we’ve got to regulate everything that is currently underway…”
Clinton is very vocal about her desire to heavily regulate the oil and gas industry, a sentiment that’s very different from Donald Trump’s “open everything” mentality.
A Look at Clinton’s Oil and Gas Connections
How reliable is Clinton’s anti-oil and gas stance? Not very.
For example, it’s pretty telling that an historically liberal organization like Greenpeace actually keeps an updated tally of the various means which Clinton’s campaign has been backed by the oil and gas industry. Between the contributions from lobbyists, interests, and direct contributions, Greenpeace estimates that Clinton has received more than $6 million dollars from the oil and gas industry.
In fact, financial experts suggest that the Clinton campaign has gathered about twice as many donations as her primary competitor, Donald Trump. In other words, it would appear as though the industry’s heavy hitters are behind the Democratic candidate.
There is still time left to go, though, and most experts believe there could still be millions in donations to come from the industry, enough that oil and gas support could still swing firmly behind Trump, especially as he doubles down on efforts to promote his interest in natural gas.
Clinton’s Plan for the Future of Oil and Gas
When it comes down to it, Clinton’s company line seems to favor an expansion of regulations governing the extraction of natural gas, while her back room history points to the fact that she’s hoping to expand oil and gas drilling projects in the future. These ideas don’t conflict as much as they might seem.
Clinton has publicly put forward a plan to shift the country aggressively toward energy efficient practices. That doesn’t mean, however, that Clinton will move away from hydraulic fracturing. Quite the contrary. You see, Clinton wants as many oil and gas projects on American soil as she can get, because she is in favor of “raising the royalty rates for drilling on federal land and cutting tax breaks for oil and gas firms…”
In other words, were Clinton elected President, it seems she’d use the oil and gas industry to pay for her push towards renewable energy. So, while industry execs might here “more business” when Clinton starts talking, what she means is harsher regulations and higher taxes.