Romney To Focus On Fossil Fuels | September 3, 2012 Issue - Vol. 90 Issue 36 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 90 Issue 36 | p. 12 | News of The Week
Issue Date: September 3, 2012

Romney To Focus On Fossil Fuels

Energy Policy: Plan would end subsidies for renewable energy, makes no mention of climate change
Department: Government & Policy
News Channels: Environmental SCENE
Keywords: Mitt Romney, energy plan, fossil fuels
Romney unveiled his energy plan late last month during a speech in Hobbs, N.M.
Credit: JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images/Newscom
This is a photo of U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in Hobbs, N.M., in August 2012.
Romney unveiled his energy plan late last month during a speech in Hobbs, N.M.
Credit: JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images/Newscom

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney wants to significantly boost U.S. fossil-fuel production while ending federal subsidies and loan guarantees for most forms of alternative energy, such as solar and wind power.

Romney’s energy plan, which the former Massachusetts governor outlined on Aug. 23, sets an ambitious goal for the U.S. of reaching energy independence by 2020 through increased production of oil, natural gas, and coal, accompanied by reduced regulation. The plan does not mention climate change.

“Three million jobs come back to this country by taking advantage of something we have right underneath our feet,” Romney said at a campaign stop in New Mexico. “That’s oil and gas and coal.”

The strategy marks a stark contrast between Romney and President Barack Obama, who has heavily pushed a green energy agenda. The Obama Administration has poured billions of federal dollars into solar, wind, and battery initiatives under the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Romney proposes to expand offshore oil leasing, approve the Keystone XL pipeline, and give states more control over the development of energy resources on federal lands within their borders.

The Romney plan would open up areas off the East Coast to oil and gas exploration, for example, reversing Obama’s decision to suspend marine fossil-fuel development off the coast of Virginia after the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Romney would also allow construction of the 1,700-mile-long Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to Texas, which would connect petroleum from Alberta’s tar sands to refineries near the Gulf of Mexico. The Obama Administration has put the project on hold.

The American Petroleum Institute, the oil industry’s main lobbying group, says “pro-development” energy policies, such as those in Romney’s plan, “could create millions of new jobs and provide billions of dollars of revenue to our government.”

Environmental activists say the plan neglects new energy technologies and fails to address climate change. “Mitt Romney has devised an energy insecurity plan that would make us even more dependent upon oil, coal, and gas companies while ignoring climate disruption, economic growth, and the health and well-being of the American people,” says Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune.

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Paul Taylor Examiner (September 3, 2012 11:34 AM)
The green climate crusaders have amused us with endless apocalyptic theories and mythologies such that today global warming is viewed with growing skepticism. A recent Wall Street Journal opinion piece by the elite eco-group, Environmental Defense Fund, that attempts yet again to sell a false “consensus” about the impacts of global warming was countered August 13th by recognized, nonpartisan climate science experts making the following points:

• Long term NOAA climate data show no significant wet/dry climate trends related to carbon dioxide (CO2) levels;
• There are no extreme high temperature trends correlated to CO2 levels;
• No correlations are observed in CO2 levels with the number or intensity of weather disasters such as tornadoes, tsunamis and hurricanes;
• Current CO2 levels are below optimal for plant life, and doubling CO2 levels would only increase global temperatures by a nominal one degree;
• There would be positive impacts of global warming such as the doubling of CO2 and moderate warming would benefit humanity with better agricultural crop yields.

If environmental policies do invade our national elections, they should be tethered to national energy policies embracing North American energy independence where the U.S., Canada and Mexico coordinate energy production, share technologies and execute mutually beneficial energy trade agreements. There should be a freeze on any further U.S. environmental regulations until our unemployment rate settles below 6.5%.
Chad (September 3, 2012 8:15 PM)
In the last five years, oil prices have roughly been triple what they were in the previous five year period. This brought about a whopping 15% increase in domestic supply, still leaving us about 40% below our peak in the early 1970's. A few tax or regulatory tweaks that change some economic calculations at the margins will have a proportionately smaller effect, as will allowing drilling in some of the handful of places that are off-limits.

Drill baby drill has never been the solution to our energy problems, and never will be. At best it provides a small, short-term burst that comes at the expense of future generations. At worst, it delays action on finding alternatives, making the cliff we will face when the wells start running dry faster than we can replace them even harder to climb.

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