Romney would unshackle US energy potential
Mitt Romney on Thursday will outline a plan that he projects would achieve North American energy independence by 2020 by opening new areas for offshore oil drilling, starting in Virginia and the Carolinas, and by empowering the states to lease federal lands for oil, coal and natural gas development.
Under the plan, environmental statutes and regulations would be removed or loosened to green-light more coal production and other industry priorities, and the United States would reach agreements for energy production with Canada and Mexico, including to build the Keystone XL Pipeline.
While President Obama has funneled federal dollars toward subsidies and loan guarantees for wind, solar and other green-energy industries, Romney would spend more broadly on research for new energy technologies.
In a 21-page report released by his campaign, Romney says the United States would become “an energy superpower” by the end of his second term.
“We have an unprecedented opportunity to make our natural resources a long-term source of competitive advantage for our nation,” Romney says in the report. “If we develop these resources to the fullest, we will not only guarantee ourselves an affordable and reliable supply of energy, but also enjoy benefits throughout our economy.”
Romney’s campaign estimates that the plan would have an economic impact of $500 billion and result in 3 million new jobs, including more than 1 million in the manufacturing sector. The campaign projects more than $1 trillion in revenue for federal, state and local governments, although it did not specify over what period. It promises lower energy prices for middle-class families.
Romney’s plan caters heavily to oil and coal interests, and oil executives are some of his biggest benefactors. Romney spent Tuesday raising an estimated $7 million across Texas, including $3 million at a dinner at the Petroleum Club of Midland. He spent the night at the home of Miles Boldrick, founder of Statewide Minerals Co., which has stakes in more than 25,000 oil wells.
Romney’s plan for federally owned lands represents one of the most sweeping leasing policies ever. The Interior Department controls leasing programs, but under Romney the states would oversee the development and production of all forms of energy on federal lands — and states, according to the plan, would have “maximum flexibility to ascertain what is most appropriate.”
This has long been a priority for conservatives, especially those in Western states who want to speed up the permitting process. Romney’s campaign says it takes 307 days for the federal government to approve permits to drill a well, while North Dakota can permit a project in 10 days.
In Utah, for instance, the Republican governor has signed legislation demanding that the federal government transfer control of 30 million acres to the state. Environmentalists strongly oppose transferring power to the states.This plan would still allow blue states to continue to strangle their economies by not allowing drilling, but most of the states where we have greater potential would eagerly boost their state's economy with an energy plan that would allow them to reduce unemployment and generate revenue to the government. The environmental objections make no sense. They only export jobs to people who don't like us and require us to spend more for energy. They have this unfounded notion that if they stop production here they will stop usage. That policy has been and abject failure for decades and has only made us poorer and more dependent on others.
Romney's energy policy is one that the majority of voters already support. Obama and the Democrats are on the wrong side of the voters on this issue. They have also wasted billions on their illusive pursuit of alternatives to real energy.
You can find a copy of Romney's plan here.