United States: Clinton Or Trump? On Energy, The Choice Is Natural Gas

Last Updated: November 11 2016
Article by Jeffrey K. Janicke, John P. Gregg and Tricia Caliguire

Natural gas will be the clear winner whether you vote for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump in the upcoming presidential election. While their proposed energy plans are widely different—Clinton is calling for major investments in renewable energy, and Trump would rescind the Clean Power Plan—both candidates are promoting policies that would boost the development of gas infrastructure through pipelines and gas-fired electric generation. Each plan could have varying implications for utilities and consumers.

With several caveats—elected officials, even at the level of the presidency, cannot always effectuate their plans, and we are relying here on the candidates' stated goals, which could differ from their actual agendas—the following represents our learned speculation on what the natural gas landscape will look like under President Clinton or President Trump.

The Plans
Both Clinton and Trump have touted the environmental and economic benefits of domestically produced natural gas. Clinton says it has been critical to reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and other pollutants, and Trump has suggested that current limits on U.S. production of natural gas have led to increased fossil fuel production in nations with lower environmental standards. Both say increased domestic production would generate more jobs.

Numerous aspects of Clinton's plan would promote gas infrastructure development, including her proposal to work with states to encourage expanded use of natural gas combined-cycle power plants to enable increased integration of variable renewable resources. She would provide grants to cities and states to phase down fuel-oil consumption, and financing tools for new gas pipeline investments to support that objective. She would also seek to increase the deployment of natural gas-fueled vehicles through federal standards and infrastructure investments.

By 2025, Clinton envisions a nation that will have met the Obama Administration's goal of reducing methane emissions by as much as 45 percent below 2012 levels. She proposes a new "pipeline partnership" among federal regulators, pipeline companies, local utility commissions and others to help cities and states repair and replace pipeline equipment "by leveraging big data, predictive analytics and innovative testing procedures to more quickly and effectively find and fix pipeline leaks."

To expand natural gas infrastructure, Trump proposes to streamline the federal permitting process for energy projects, including for gas pipelines and liquefied natural gas export facilities. He believes that current restrictions have resulted in blocking or abandoning billions of dollars of private infrastructure investment, and he has criticized Clinton's methane emissions position, contending that it will drastically increase the cost of natural gas.

Trump would also open more federal lands and offshore areas for gas production. Clinton, by contrast, would increase royalty rates for gas leases on federal lands, and she has expressed opposition to gas development offshore in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans.

Emails recently published by WikiLeaks indicate that Clinton is unlikely to seek a tax on greenhouse gas emissions, also known as a "carbon tax." Further, Clinton purportedly told a building trades union that activists who seek her pledge to ban the production of all fossil fuels should "get a life." According to the meeting transcript, she spoke favorably of gas infrastructure development: "I want to defend natural gas. I want to defend repairing and building the pipelines we need to fuel our economy. I want to defend fracking under the right circumstances."

Regardless of who wins the presidential election, the next administration will work to promote the shale gas revolution and encourage increases in natural gas-fueled electric generation. The advances under Clinton's plan would be tempered by the boost in renewable energy resources, while increases in coal extraction under the Trump plan could mitigate natural gas gains. Under either plan, however, natural gas will continue to play a prominent role in the generation mix, despite its deemphasized role in the Clean Power Plan.

On the gas utility side, local distribution companies (LDCs) should expect further opportunities to obtain supply from nontraditional sources as the development of new pipeline infrastructure continues. Even if the focus of the policy is on the use of natural gas for electric generation, LDCs can take advantage of the developments. Recent history shows that pipeline projects that are geared toward serving electric generation, including those providing flow-reversals, have attracted LDC shippers as additional beneficiaries. Under Clinton's plan, LDCs would also have the potential to increase their customer bases through her proposed grants for local infrastructure investments and her natural gas vehicle deployment plan.

Interstate gas pipelines will continue to seek recovery of costs necessary to meet environmental and safety standards, including any aimed at reducing methane emissions. Pipeline companies will impose these expenses on customers by using "modernization" trackers under the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's new policy permitting such recovery mechanisms, or through general rate cases. Either way, the costs will ultimately be passed on to the retail customers of electric and gas utilities. On the other hand, reductions in leaks due to improved equipment will reduce lost and unaccounted-for fuel costs, which will have a moderating effect on any gas transportation rate increases.

Further Information
Natural gas is, of course, only one part of the candidates' stated energy policies. The ultimate role of natural gas in energy production, and its effects on consumers, will be determined by broader economic forces and by how extensively various parts of the new president's policy are implemented.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions