Trump campaign advisor and oilman Harold Hamm said the US government has done everything in its power to impede oil and gas production.
President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to boost the nation's oil, natural gas and coal production by rolling back regulations and increasing drilling on federal lands.
"There's so many of these overreaching regulations that's gone on. My goodness. We called it death by a thousand cuts, and that's exactly what it was intended to do," Hamm told CNBC's "Power Lunch." [video]
The eight years of the Obama Administration have been defined by an ever more aggressive disregard for Constitutional separation of powers and unprecedented abuse of Executive Authority. No sector of the economy has been spared. But there is no doubt that the domestic energy industry has borne the brunt of this abuse.
As of this writing there is just over one month until the General Election of 2016. While much of the national media remains fixated on the battle for the White House it is the struggle for control of the Senate that might ultimately have the greater impact on history.
Regardless of who wins the White House, the incoming President will appoint a minimum of one, and potentially up to three, Supreme Court Justices. With the passing of Antonin Scalia in February, there is currently one vacancy on the high court. Two other Justices, Breyer who is 78 years old, and Ginsberg who is 83 years old, both Bill Clinton appointees, are widely rumored as possible retirees should Hillary Clinton be elected, thereby ensuring their seats on the Court remain liberal. Justice Scalia was the conservative swing vote on the Court. Should Hillary Clinton be elected President, it will be critical to have a Republican majority in Congress to check the ability of Clinton to appoint a liberal Justice, thereby swinging the Court to a liberal majority. If Donald Trump wins this fall he will need a Republican-controlled Senate to ensure that his conservative appointment(s) are confirmed. While Presidents are limited to two terms in office, it is a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court. If the Court swings to the left the impact could last another 40 years and there will be no hope of rolling back the unconstitutional excesses of the Obama Administration and to restoring the Constitutional balance of power.
Senate Democrats entered the 2016 election cycle with a distinct advantage. Republicans currently hold a 54-46 Senate majority. However, of the 34 Senate seats in-cycle, 24 are currently held by Republicans, while Democrats only have to defend 10. Depending on who wins the White House, Democrats only have to pick up 4 or 5 seats to take control of the Senate as the Vice President cast the deciding vote when the Senate is tied. By coincidence, many of the key Senate races are unfolding in presidential battleground states. Following is a snapshot of the fight for the Senate, including the polling averages for the White House race in states where the presidential race could have an impact on the outcome of the Senate contests.
The Nevada seat of retiring Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid represents a surprising pick-up opportunity for Republicans. GOP candidate Joe Heck has maintained a narrow but consistent lead over Democrat Catherine Cortez-Mastro. According to the RealClearPolitics (RCP) polling averages, Hecks’ lead on Mastro sits at 3.2 percent. The presidential race is also a virtual toss-up, though Clinton has seen some momentum coming out of the first presidential debate.
Early on, Missouri looked like a pick-up opportunity for the Democrats. However, current GOP Senator Roy Blunt leads Democratic challenger Jason Kander by an average of 2.5 points. Trump holds a 10-point lead over Clinton and is expected to carry Missouri.
Former Senator Russ Feingold holds a solid lead on incumbent GOP Senator Ron Johnson in Wisconsin, which is expected to fall to the Democrats. Similarly, Clinton is averaging a 5-point lead over Trump in historically liberal Wisconsin. Similarly, Illinois incumbent Mark Kirk joins Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson as one of the most vulnerable Republicans. Challenger Tammy Duckworth holds a solid 7-point lead on Kirk in a state where Clinton leads Trump by an average of nearly 15 points. Indiana has proven to be one of the bigger stories in this election cycle, first as a late battleground in the GOP presidential primary fight. Then with the announcement that Evan Bayh would emerge from retirement in an attempt to take back his old Senate seat from retiring GOP Senator Dan Coats.
To the selection of current GOP Governor Mike Pence as the GOP Vice Presidential candidate, the Hoosier state has been at the center of the national political fight. Bayh not only enjoys near 100 percent name recognition in the state, he also brings a $9 million war chest left over from his previous days in the Senate. Bayh currently leads GOP Representative Todd Young by an average of 5.5 points in recent polls. However, Bayh’s lead in the polls has steadily shrunk since his announcement. Trump leads Clinton by 9 points in the current RCP average.
As with every modern general election, Ohio and Pennsylvania are at the center of the struggle for the White House, and in 2016, for control of the Senate. While marked for defeat by the Democrats, incumbent GOP Senator Rob Portman has run a test book race and has taken a solid lead of 13.1 points over Democrat challenger Ted Strickland. Trump currently has a slight but persistent edge over Clinton, currently at 3.8 percent. It will be virtually impossible for Trump to win the White House without carrying the Buckeye State. Current polling averages have Pennsylvania Republican Senator Pat Toomey in a virtual tie with Democratic challenger Katie McGinty, who leads Toomey by 2 points. Clinton leads Trump by 4.4 points in the RCP average. In New Hampshire Republican incumbent Kelly Ayotte is locked in a close race with popular current New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan. Ayotte has an RCP average lead of 1.6 points while leads Clinton has consistently out-polled Trump, and currently leads by an average of 6 points. North Carolina and Florida round out our list of battleground states. GOP incumbent Richard Burr is locked in a tight race with Democratic challenger Deborah Ross in North Carolina. A virtual toss-up, the RCP average has Ross leading Burr by less than one percentage point. Similarly, Clinton leads Trump by an average of 1.5 points in North Carolina. Florida looked to be a prime pick-up opportunity for the Democrats before Marco Rubio’s decision to run for re-election. While running for the GOP White House nomination Rubio had signaled that he would not seek re-election to the Senate. However, since re-entering the Florida senate race, Rubio has consistently been in the lead, currently holding a RCP average lead of 5.3 points. Clinton is up 2.8 over Trump in the most recent percent RCP averages.
Of the six Senate seats currently rated as toss-ups, NV, MO, IN, PA, NC and FL, all but MO are considered presidential swing states. If all toss-ups are eliminated, Republicans would pick up Nevada, and hold Missouri and Florida. Combined with Democrat pick-ups in Wisconsin and Illinois, the Senate would be equally divided at 50-50 between Republicans and Democrats. As noted earlier, if the Senate is tied the party who controls the White House would also control the Senate because, under the Constitution, the Vice President casts the deciding vote. While voter enthusiasm at the top of the ticket could play a role in turnout on Election Day, it appears that control of the Senate, and by extension, the balance of the Supreme Court will be determined on a race-by-race struggle.
While President Obama’s abuse of executive authority has seen no limits, the domestic energy industry has borne the brunt of it. Should Clinton be elected, and the Democrats control the Senate, the balance of the Court will swing to the left and there will be no check on the liberal war on the domestic oil industry. So far there is no indication that either presidential candidate is a drag, or is providing coattails in the down ballot Senate races. It looks like it will come down to individual races. I strongly urge you to help out where you can in key races like Indiana, Pennsylvania and North Carolina. Rep. Young, Senator Toomey and Senator Burr are good conservatives with a strong record of supporting domestic energy production. A GOP majority in the Senate is critical to maintaining a conservative Supreme Court and the Constitutional balance of power vital to the health of the domestic energy industry, the economy and our democracy as a whole.
JC Watts, Jr. is a DEPA lobbyist and former member of Congress representing the fourth district of Oklahoma. Watts served for eight years on the House Armed Services Committee. In 1998, he was elected by his peers to serve as chairman of the Republican Conference, the fourth-ranking leadership position in the majority party in the US House of Representatives.
Contact: Pete Regan, DEPA Executive Director, (405) 424-1699
The Domestic Energy Producers Alliance denounces the Obama Administration for unilaterally acting to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline project. After a US federal judge ruled on behalf of the pipeline the Obama Administration issued a request to voluntary stop work on the project so that they could “reconsider any previous decisions.”
“This is a direct assault on the rule of law in our country and is a blatant and further attempt to stop oil and gas development in America,” said Mike McDonald, Domestic Energy Producers Alliance (DEPA) President. “We call on Congress to take any measures necessary to push back on this illegal action taken by the Administration.”
Dakota Access has invested billions of dollars and years of time in making sure this project was done correctly and for the benefits of the American consumer. The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) as designed will ultimately transport crude oil from the very valuable Bakken oil and gas field to a point where it may be entered into a larger pipeline network to bring this critical energy source to market, he said.
“This project will provide an opportunity for America to embrace energy independence and chart our own path toward economic growth,” McDonald said.
BACKGROUND on the DAPL:
The Dakota Access Pipeline originates within the huge Bakken oilfield, which covers approximately 9 million acres, or 15,000 square miles, and is producing over 1mm barrels of oil per day, having just passed 2 billion barrels cumulative since it began production. Approximately 25% of this resource has tribal mineral ownership and attempts to block this pipeline cuts against Native American interests. Pipeline movement of crude oil is the safest, most efficient and dependable method of transportation to markets which serve consumers in America.
On September 9, 2016, a US District Court Judge, Judge James Boasberg, appointed by President Obama, denied an injunction filed by the Standing Rock Sioux to attempt to block the four-state oil pipeline. Minutes after the Sioux’s injunction was denied, three federal agencies appealed to the pipeline company to “voluntarily pause” work on a segment of the pipeline. The US Army Corp of Engineers, US Department of Justice and the US Department of the Interior jointly announced they would stop work temporarily under a lake considered by the Sioux to be a crucial water source. They asked the pipeline company to voluntarily halt construction within 20 miles of Lake Oahe while the Army reconsiders the decision to proceed under the National Environmental Policy Act and other federal laws.
DEPA is a unique organization with a grassroots approach to domestic onshore energy advocacy and education. DEPA’s members are leaders in developing and applying the innovative and advanced technologies that allow our nation to add reasonably priced domestic energy reserves in environmentally responsible ways. For more information, visit depausa.org.
It is my recommendation that DEPA plan some initial meetings in Washington, DC, early in 2017 to meet with members of the new Administration and newly elected Senators and House Members. This December is probably too early since the new people won’t even be in their offices until after the first of the year. Any meetings in December would need to focus on members of the leadership teams on both parties in both houses.
These initial meetings could be important as it is very likely that Congress and the new Administration will start paying attention to the issue of tax reform early in their new terms.
DEPA is well-placed to schedule meetings regardless of which party controls the White House and which party controls the Senate and House.
DEPA Chairman Harold Hamm is playing a significant role in Republican Presidential politics and will know people in charge of the White House if Donald Trump wins. DEPA Vice President Don Montgomery is very active on the Democratic side and will know people in any new Democratic Administration if Hillary Clinton wins.
Additionally, a number of DEPA members have supported both Republican and Democratic Senate candidates in what could be a very closely divided US Senate. There are open Senate seats in both Nevada and Indiana because of retirements and a number of current Senators face serious challenges this Fall and could be replaced by new people.
The only vulnerable current Senator on the Democratic is Michael Bennet of Colorado; however, there are a number of potentially vulnerable Republican Senators who may not be back.
Individual House races are harder to predict but there will be a number of new Congressmen on both sides of the aisle. Key returning leadership members include House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX), Senate Finance Committee Chair Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Senate Finance Committee Ranking Democrat Ron Wyden (D-OR). If the Democrats take control of the Senate, Wyden will be Finance Committee Chair.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and new Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) also will play key roles. Schumer will become Majority Leader if the Democrats re-take the Senate.
Ryan, Pelosi, McConnell and Schumer all played key roles in brokering the legislative compromise at the end of last year’s session that repealed the export ban. All are experienced politicians who understand the give and take necessary to get anything done in Washington, regardless of the highly partisan atmosphere in Congress.
You may think 2016 has been a crazy year. The fun will continue once the dust settles. DEPA’s job of protecting key energy tax provisions is never done.
Martin Frost is a former United States Congressman and DEPA lobbyist. Frost is a keen observer of national politics who has held a number of leadership positions for the Democratic Party and is considered one of the party’s top strategists.