The candidates on Energy

Romney

Obama

Synopsis: Romney favors expanding the role of oil, natural gas, coal, and nuclear energy, streamlining the permitting process, and funding basic research and development, but pulling federal funding of subsidies for wind and solar, allowing them to compete on the market under their own merits.

 

Producing more domestic energy would create good jobs and bolster local economies in a wide variety of energy-producing regions that effectively “export” their product to the rest of the country. While countless jobs are engaged in the actual energy-production process, they are a small fraction of the full workforce that benefits. For instance, before the first barrel of oil is pumped out of the ground, entire industries are hard at work creating the equipment and providing the services used in drilling, production, and the long chain of supporting industries that brings energy from inside the earth to the consumer.

 

The ripple effects into the non-energy sectors of the economy are commensurately important. If instead of sending hundreds of billions of dollars overseas we can send them to our own energy-rich centers, the nation as a whole will experience the economic benefits that we currently see other countries enjoying at our expense.

 

As president, Mitt Romney will make every effort to safeguard the environment, but he will be mindful at every step of also protecting the jobs of American workers. This will require putting conservative principles into action.

 

Significant Regulatory Reform

The first step will be a rational and streamlined approach to regulation, which would facilitate rapid progress in the development of our domestic reserves of oil and natural gas and allow for further investment in nuclear power.

  • Establish fixed timetables for all resource development approvals
  • Create one-stop shop to streamline permitting process for approval of common activities
  • Implement fast-track procedures for companies with established safety records to conduct pre-approved activities in pre-approved areas
  • Ensure that environmental laws properly account for cost in regulatory process
  • Amend Clean Air Act to exclude carbon dioxide from its purview
  • Expand NRC capabilities for approval of additional nuclear reactor designs
  • Streamline NRC processes to ensure that licensing decisions for reactors on or adjacent to approved sites, using approved designs, are complete within two years

Increasing Production

The United States is blessed with a cornucopia of carbon-based energy resources. Developing them has been a pathway to prosperity for the nation in the past and offers similar promise for the future.

  • Conduct comprehensive survey of America’s energy reserves
  • Open America’s energy reserves for development
  • Expand opportunities for U.S. resource developers to forge partnerships with neighboring countries
  • Support construction of pipelines to bring Canadian oil to the United States
  • Prevent overregulation of shale gas development and extraction

Research and Development

Government has a role to play in innovation in the energy industry. History shows that the United States has moved forward in astonishing ways thanks to national investment in basic research and advanced technology. However, we should not be in the business of steering investment toward particular politically favored approaches. That is a recipe for both time and money wasted on projects that do not bring us dividends. The failure of windmills and solar plants to become economically viable or make a significant contribution to our energy supply is a prime example.

  • Concentrate alternative energy funding on basic research
  • Utilize long-term, apolitical funding mechanisms like ARPA-E for basic research

 

Synopsis: Obama favors expanding land protection and conservation, investing tax-payer funds in wind and solar energy subsidies, increasing fuel efficiency standards to double the current standard, and increase carbon capture efforts.

 

President Obama has made protecting the environment a priority, moving us toward energy independence, investing in clean energy jobs, and taking steps to improve the quality of our air and water. As of November 2010, the Obama administration’s policies have helped create hundreds of thousands of jobs in the clean energy industry.

 

President Obama enacted the largest expansion of land and water conservation and protected wilderness in a generation. He also created the America’s Great Outdoors initiative to develop a community-led conservation and recreation agenda for the 21st century.

President Obama is committed to putting in place an “all-of-the-above strategy” to develop every available source of American energy while making sure we never have to choose between protecting our environment and strengthening our economy.

 

In his most recent State of the Union address, President Obama reiterated his commitment to lessening America’s dependence on foreign oil and investing in clean energy to protect our environment and create jobs.

 

The President has announced the opening of public lands for investments in clean energy, and he has committed his administration to approve projects by the end of 2012 that will increase renewable generation capacity to power 3 million homes.

 

  • The Obama administration has taken major steps to develop offshore wind resources, including approving the country’s first-ever offshore wind farm—which is expected to produce enough clean electricity to power more than 200,000 homes—and taking steps to streamline the leasing process for future offshore wind projects.
  • The administration has approved the construction of 16 commercial-scale solar facilities, five wind, and eight geothermal projects on public lands that are expected to power about 1.3 million homes and support 12,500 jobs.

 

The President made an agreement with auto manufacturers to improve the overall fuel economy of the nation’s passenger auto fleet to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025—nearly twice the 27.5 miles per gallon standard that was in place when he took office.

 

The Obama administration’s groundbreaking standards for cars and light trucks will save families roughly $8,200 at the pump per vehicle by 2025. The standards will also cut in half vehicles’ greenhouse gas pollution, reducing a major cause of climate change.

 

  • President Obama has set a 10-year goal to develop and deploy cost-effective clean coal technology, and to put online several commercial demonstration projects within four years
  • The Recovery Act invested substantially in carbon capture and sequestration research, including 22 projects across four different areas of carbon capture-and-storage research and development
  • Under President Obama, we’ve implemented numerous initiatives to improve miner health and safety, and 2011 saw the second-fewest miner deaths on record

 

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