"Barack Obama Is Bad for the Oil and Gas Industry."
False. The oil and gas industry does not exactly love President Obama. Many of the industry's most prominent members rail against his "job-killing tax hikes," bankroll his opponents, and assert that his claims about oil production "couldn't be farther from the truth." Some of this frustration stems from real policy disagreements. Many oil and gas producers scoff at efforts to promote clean energy. They chafe at the drilling restrictions put in place in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and are apoplectic about the president's denial of a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline.
Yet Obama has presided over an extraordinary boom in oil and gas production. That fact alone suggests he isn't out to wreck the industry. So why the hostility? Bennett Johnston, then a Democratic senator from Louisiana, put the dynamic well, though he was talking about another president and another energy boom 30 years ago: "When I go down in my state, I see virtually none of the independent oil producers for Carter.… We've gotten higher drilling rig counts, more dollars being spent, more activity, more profits being made by oil people than ever before. But do they like Carter? Oh no, they hate him because of his rhetoric."
So let's get real: Obama may criticize the energy industry, but he has been pretty damn good for business. Washington under his watch may not be turning into Riyadh on the Potomac, but these are happy days for oil and gas producers. Even the president's efforts to remove industry tax breaks would amount to an additional burden of around $4 billion a year for an industry that posted more than $100 billion in profits (and far more in revenues) last year. And far from shutting down business with draconian new rules, his administration has worked to craft regulations that keep production going while also protecting the public. After pausing to improve safety provisions in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Obama has allowed new offshore oil drilling and production to resume. No president has a perfect record on energy. Yet if America's energy industry and its supporters set aside rhetoric, they'll find quite a lot to gush about.