The US oil industry is increasing the pressure on President Barack Obama to pull back from new regulations on oil and gas production, stepping up its election advertising campaign in five key battleground states.
The American Petroleum Institute, the industry lobby group, is running a campaign called “Vote 4 Energy”, which urges voters to support candidates who support the oil and gas industry’s agenda.
It has new commercials running in Florida, Colorado, Ohio, Virginia, and North Carolina – swing states that could decide November’s presidential election – saying: “The oil and natural gas industry can be a job engine. Don’t let Washington red tape hold it back.”
The energy policy set out last month by Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate, followed the industry’s aims very closely, promising not to add new regulations, opening up new areas for drilling on the US Atlantic coast, and speeding up oil and gas production on lands owned by the federal government.
In this year’s election cycle, the oil and gas industry has given 87 per cent of its $8.74m contributions to Republican candidates, and only 13 per cent to Democrats, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks political donations.
Jack Gerard, the API’s president, has been a donor to Mr Romney’s campaign and to the Republican party, and has been talked about as a possible chief of staff should Mr Romney win the presidency.
However, he said the API was not running a partisan campaign. “This is not about a particular party or a particular candidate,” he told the Financial Times. “We are talking about the role of energy in job creation and economic activity.”