Posting in Energy
Mitt Romney's path to energy independence doesn't offer too many surprises. However, his energy plan does contain a few proposals that are worth noting.
Mitt Romney's energy plan doesn't stray far from the standard GOP position. And like Democrats and Republican politicans before him, Romney wants the nation--actually, North America as a whole--to achieve energy independence by 2020.
In Romney's view, that goal can be achieved by opening up offshore drilling; giving states broad control over energy production on federal lands; loosening regulations; the reforming nuclear power plant approval process; building pipelines like the 1,700-mile Keystone XL that will take oil sands from Alberta to refineries in the Gulf Coast; and by expanding partnerships with Canada and Mexico.
Romney's path to energy independence doesn't offer too many surprises. He has publicly floated many of these ideas in the past. And virtually all of them fall in line with the GOP's view of the world. However, his energy plan does contain a few proposals, one of which is in direct conflict with some in his own party, that are worth noting.
1. Ethanol is here to stay. Romney's position paper never actually mentions the controversial fuel. He doesn't need to. Within the paper, Romney says he "supports increased market penetration and competition among energy sources by maintaining the RFS and eliminating regulatory barriers to a diversification of the electrical grid, fuel system, or vehicle fleet."
The Renewable Fuel Standard, or RFS, which was signed into law by former President George W. Bush, requires more than 13 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol be blended into gasoline this year.
The ethanol industry cheered Romney's stance. Others, namely the governors of states that have a large livestock industry, are likely unhappy with the pro-ethanol stance. Governors from Arkansas, Georgia, New Mexico and North Carolina have asked the EPA to waive requirements for ethanol, in light of a drought that has damaged corn crops and sent prices higher.
2. Coal gets support. Romney's energy plan relies heavily on oil and gas. It also gives coal a leg up by dialing back environmental regulations that require coal-fired power plants to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. In his plan, Romney says he will work to "amend" the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act, two moves that would relax rules for coal-fired power plants and other large industrial emitters as well companies that use hydraulic fracturing to release gas trapped in shale.
3. Financing for clean energy projects is over. Romney's plan doesn't outline so much what he'll do about clean energy as much what he won't do. Romney would end loan guarantees and other subsidies for renewable energy projects. Some funds would then be redirected into basic federal research into new energy technologies. He also calls for streamlining permits and regulations, which he says will provide a boost to clean energy.
Aug 24, 2012
If Solyndra was a scandal, then so too is Exxon and the rest of big oil, once they get their continued R&D tax breaks and grants. http://go.bloomberg.com/political-capital/2012-08-21/romney-refining-texas-t-7-min/ Mitt's energy policy amounts to the continued building of the plutocracy.
It's "Drill baby drill". More of the same. The depredations of global warming will continue to become more and more obvious and I predict that we will be in an all out rush to eliminate CO2 emitting energy sources within 10 or 15 years. We could save money by encouraging getting out ahead of that wave. Science and reality are like that. They don't care what your political position is, they just are and you can only ignore them for so long before they force you to pay attention. BTW, Arctic sea ice extent in on the verge of setting a new low for the recorded history in the next week or two, several weeks before the normal end of the melting season.
At least it looks like a coordinated effort. Unlike the disjointed, uneven effort we have seen from 3 administrations over the past 20 years. Romneys position on ethanol is to be expected. While ethanol is environmentally a worse polluter than gasoline and a real world stupid move because it has driven a rise in food prices, at the same time it has become a political third rail because of the powerful states getting subsidies. It needs to be kept in mind that US coal plants that do not meet the new EPA CO2 standard are still far cleaner burning than most of the coal plants in China and India. Lets pressure them to clean up proven pollution before we kill ourselves over CO2. R&D is where the government has a legitimate role in renewable energy. Leave the venture capital funding to the private sector. So far the governments efforts to pick winners has been an abysmal failure because politics intervenes when business sense says to run away. As seen by the reversal of the original denial of Solyndras loan application.