We have expanded the list of climate policies we assess company engagement with to incorporate land-use related policy, referring to legislative or regulatory measures to enhance and protect ecosystems and land where carbon is being stored. Assessments under this category are currently underweighted in terms of their contribution to the overall company metrics. This weighting will be progressively increased over the next 6 months.
We adjusted the terminology used to describe the queries running down the left-hand side of our scoring matrix and added additional explanatory text to the info-boxes. This has no impact on the scores and methodology. It has been done following user feedback to improve clarity.
Climate Lobbying Overview: The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) is negatively lobbying on a wide range of US climate policies. In particular, the AFPM appears to oppose policies intended to aid the electrification of transport and the uptake of biofuels, such as the Renewable Fuel Standard, which it has repeatedly criticized.
Top-line Messaging on Climate Policy: The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) does not appear to be supportive of climate policy in its top-line messaging. In an August 2022 AFPM Blog, the association opposed the Inflation Reduction Act. Although it has stated support for policies to tackle climate change, as of October 2021, this support comes with significant caveats, emphasizing the need for policy to protect US competitiveness and to be “flexible” and “achievable.” In September of 2021, AFPM launched a campaign against the Build Back Better Plan. While the association has acknowledged that climate change is real on its website in 2021, the New York Times reported in July 2019 that AFPM funded the Heartland Institute, a think tank known for fueling climate denial. Furthermore, AFPM has been reported to fund groups actively involved in climate change denial, i.e., the Competitive Enterprise Institute in July 2019. In May of 2020, the association tweeted in support of rolling back regulatory requirements for the oil and gas industry during the COVID-19 pandemic. After criticism from members for its failure to support the Paris Agreement in April 2019, Axios reported that AFPM claimed not to have a position on the Agreement in July 2019. In March of 2019, AFPM tweeted its opposition to the Green New Deal in the US.
Engagement with Climate-Related Policy: The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) appears to have repeatedly opposed specific climate policies. In August 2021 the association stated support for the direct regulation of methane in a letter to the Committee on Environment and Public Works. However, in September of 2021, AFPM stated opposition for the proposed methane fee in the Build Back Better Act. AFPM opposed an energy standard for local building codes in March 2021 as reported by Huffington Post. In March 2019, CEO Chet Thompson stated: “We currently do not support, as a trade association, a carbon tax.” In 2018, the group strongly supported the Scalise-McKinley anti-carbon tax resolution introduced in Congress and has funded campaigns to oppose carbon tax policies in Washington State in 2018 as reported by Reuters. In March 2022, the Wall Street Journal reported in March 2022 that AFPM participated in the legal challenge of the Biden Administration's stricter air pollution standards. The New York Times reported that AFPM also appears to have run an extensive public campaign in 2018 to support the rollback of Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, and CEO Chet Thompson previously applauded the US federal government’s October 2018 decision to freeze the standards at 2020 levels until 2026. In August 2021, CEO Chet Thompson stated opposition to Biden’s changes to CAFE standards. On its website, as of October 2021, AFPM seems to maintain opposition to “unrealistic” standards that “effectively function as bans on internal combustion engines” and states that fuel efficiency standards should be “market-driven.”
The AFPM appears to broadly oppose ambitious GHG standards. In a joint letter with the American Petroleum Institute sent to President Biden in June 2022, the association opposed the administration's light-duty vehicle standards and Spectrum News 1 reported in August 2022 that AFPM had joined a lawsuit challenging the standards. On its website, as of October 2021, it has stated that the New Source Performance Standards for greenhouse gas emissions are “unnecessary” and “restrictive”, as well as appearing to oppose changes that would increase the ambition of the New Source Performance Standards for stationary methane emission sources, such as refineries. Furthermore, in May 2020, the AFPM (with others) attempted legal action against California's CARB regulations that aimed to cut GHG emissions from vehicles by 20% by 2030. Similarly in March 2019, AFPM opposed Colorado’s Low-Emission & Zero-Emission vehicle standards as part of the Freedom to Drive Coalition. In August 2020, AFPM advocated for changes to the EPA Benefit-Cost Rule to enable more greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act. In February 2018, the association supported the repeal of the Clean Power Plan in comments to the EPA.
AFPM has repeatedly criticized the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). In July 2021, the association launched a media campaign opposing the RFS. The association tweeted in August 2021 its support for an octane standard to replace the RFS. AFPM stated in August 2020 that the policy is “broken” and in October 2020, that “ethanol mandates are both too expensive and too unrealistic to maintain a healthy refining sector”. In January 2021, the AFPM opposed a decision by the 10th Circuit court that would reduce the number of parties able to apply small refinery exemptions (SREs), and in February 2021, supported an effort by certain State Governors for refineries to receive general waivers from the RFS from the EPA. Similarly, an AFPM Executive testified at an EPA public hearing and requested changes to RFS compliance in February 2021, while in March 2021 AFPM cited the COVID-19 pandemic as a reason to alter compliance requirements in comments to the EPA. CEO Chet Thompson has also written several opinion editorials in small newspapers to encourage opposition to the RFS, including in Real Clear Energy in June 2021.
Positioning on Energy Transition: The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) does not support the transition of the energy mix. In particular, the AFPM does not appear to support the electrification of transport and policies that mandate a higher proportion of biofuels in the fuel mix. AFPM opposed the Inflation Reduction Act provisions of taxing crude oil, the methane pollution fee, and the EV tax credit in an August 2022 blog post. In that same month, the association opposed California's ban on gas and diesel vehicles in a press release. In a June 2022 joint letter with the American Petroleum Institute to President Biden, AFPM opposed California's EV target, while also supporting increased domestic fossil fuel production and infrastructure. In March 2022, AFPM called for increased US oil and gas production in a press release. In September of 2021, AFPM tweeted support of House Representatives who were opposed to the clean energy standard provision in the Build Back Better Plan. Politico reported in September 2021 that AFPM ran a campaign to pressure against the removal of fossil fuel tax breaks in the same plan. CEO Chet Thompson stated that the industry has to counter “an increasingly loud narrative" that sustainability requires removing fossil fuels from the market in comments made at the AFPM conference in April 2021. As of March 2021, AFPM appears to oppose mandates and subsidies for electric vehicles (EVs) on its website, and in January of 2021, Politico reported on the AFPM’s organizing effort to coordinate opposition to federal subsidies for EVs. In spring 2020, AFPM joined the Transportation Fairness Alliance, which seems to oppose measures intended to promote EVs. In October 2020, AFPM strongly criticized a proposed ban by 2035 on ICE vehicles in California and in July 2021 directly advocated to the EPA to not grant a waiver for California’s Advanced Clean Car Program.
Beyond transport, AFPM does not appear to support the transition of the broader energy mix. In May 2021, AFPM tweeted its opposition to a ban on oil and gas leases on public lands. For example, in October 2020, in the run up to the 2020 US Presidential Election, CEO Chet Thompson strongly criticized Joe Biden's ambition to transition the US away from oil and gas, claiming such a move would "devastate communities across the country, eliminate millions of high-paying jobs, raise energy prices, and undermine our economy." In August 2018, AFPM submitted comments to the EPA that directly supported limiting the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to facilitate more greenhouse gas infrastructure projects and in June 2021 opposed the consideration of the social cost of carbon in NEPA analyses.
The AFPM appears to strongly support the development of fossil fuel infrastructure. On its website as of October 2021, AFPM supports continued use of pipeline infrastructure and in September of the same year AFPM tweeted its support for Line 3. For example, in February 2021, Thompson criticized the Biden administration decision to revoke the permit for Keystone XL pipeline, stating this “jeopardizes the significant economic, environmental and energy-security gains the pipeline stands to deliver.” In that same month, MotherJones and the Huffington Post reported that AFPM supported critical infrastructure bills in multiple states, which would limit and criminalize the protesting of pipeline projects.