Nov 23 (Reuters) - If U.S. President-elect Joe Biden tries
to restrict development of oil and gas drilling on federal
lands, the American Petroleum Institute (API) will use "every
tool at its disposal" including legal action, chief executive
Mike Sommers said in an interview with Reuters on Monday.
Biden has said he supports a ban on new gas and oil permits
including fracking on federal lands.
Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is a drilling technology
that has allowed the U.S. oil industry to vastly boost output in
recent years, making the United States the world's largest
producer of crude oil. Environmental groups oppose fracking,
saying it pollutes groundwater and exacerbates climate change.
Sommers said the API looks forward to working with the
incoming Biden administration on energy, but would "draw the
line" if Biden implemented restrictions on lands that were
"always meant for multi-use."
"This would be a far reaching proposal that would undermine
American national and energy security to the detriment of the
American people," Sommers told Reuters.
He cited potential loss of jobs and gross domestic product
in states that rely on revenues from oil and gas production.
"We would be very concerned about those kinds of proposals
coming out of the Biden administration," he added.
The Biden transition team did not reply to a request for
Sommers said the oil industry group wants to be involved in
discussions on issues such as future federal regulation of
Biden has vowed to take actions including requiring
"aggressive" methane pollution limits for new and existing oil
and gas operations.
Sommers said Biden "should want the people who know this
issue best, in the oil and gas industry, at the table to discuss
the right way to do this."
Biden has also pledged to reverse course on climate from
President Donald Trump, who pulled the United States out of the
2015 Paris agreement on climate and dismantled Obama-era climate
and environmental regulations.
Sommers said the API supports the fundamental tenets of the
agreement and will work with the incoming administration as it
transitions back into the agreement.
The API's alliance with the National Building Trades Union
will be important under a Biden administration, Sommers said.
Biden has publicly opposed construction of pipelines that employ
He also said he sees a possibility of alliance with labor
unions and biofuels groups on policies supporting vehicles that
use the internal combustion engine.
(Reporting by Laura Sanicola
Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and David Gregorio)