Skip to content

Romney/Ryan Releases Energy Plan for America

Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney last week unveiled a 21 page energy plan aimed at making the United States independent of overseas oil by 2020.  The plan would attempt to achieve in seven years what every president since Richard Nixon has proposed – US energy self-sufficiency.

The plan echoes themes from Romney’s existing energy platform and the Republican agenda, including expanded offshore drilling, approval of the Keystone XL pipeline and a loosening of environmental regulations.  

In order to facilitate private-sector-led development, Romney said he would “support 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 paper also noted he would “ensure that policies for expanding energy development apply broadly to energy sources from oil and gas exploration, to coal mining, to the siting of wind, solar, hydroelectric, and other renewable energy facilities.

“Rather than “picking winners” among renewable energy projects, the plan says renewable energy would benefit from the same streamlined regulations as traditional energy sources.

The plan also calls for allowing states to control energy production on federal land within their borders, speeding approval of nuclear reactors and limiting EPA legal settlements with environmental groups.

The goal, the document says, is “to dramatically increase domestic energy production and partner closely with Canada and Mexico to achieve North American energy independence by 2020.”

The proposal is designed to appeal to voters frustrated by rising gasoline prices, an issue that has plagued Obama repeatedly throughout the past four years. It also pledges to create millions of new jobs.

Ed Gillespie, a senior adviser for the Romney campaign, told reporters that energy will be a major campaign theme for Romney in the coming months. “We think this is a very high priority issue for American voters. It’s an issue they care deeply about.”

“While every president since Nixon has tried and failed to achieve this goal, analysts across the spectrum – energy experts, investment firms, even academics at Harvard University – now recognize that surging U.S. energy production, combined with the resources of America’s neighbors, can meet all of the continent’s energy needs within a decade,” the document says. “The key is to embrace these resources and open access to them.”

Romney’s document promises that his administration would unleash energy resources that Obama has hobbled through oppressive regulations and ill-advised subsidies for “chosen companies” like Solyndra. The result, his campaign said, “would establish America as an energy superpower in the 21st century.”

Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen said, “We applaud Governor Romney’s commitment to domestic renewable fuels and his recognition of the importance of the RFS. The RFS is helping to reduce America’s reliance on imported oil and create hundreds of thousands of jobs all across rural America.”

The Advanced Ethanol Council said of the plan, “One area where we hope Governor Romney will be more explicit is in his campaign’s support for parity in the tax code for renewable fuels. We cannot have an ‘all of the above’ energy strategy if the U.S. tax code continues to offer incentives to oil and gas developers that are not being offered to renewable fuels projects. Leveling the playing field in the tax code is absolutely critical to achieving the energy security goals set forth by the Romney Campaign.”

Whether that’s an achievable goal has been under sharp debate, however.

U.S. reliance on imported petroleum has decreased significantly in the past few years, for reasons that include the shale gas boom and a rise in exports of refined petroleum products. Still, net petroleum imports accounted for 44.8 percent of the U.S. supply last year- down from a peak of 60.3 percent in 2005, but approximately the same as it was twenty years ago. Unfortunately, global markets make America vulnerable to price spikes and their effects regardless of the sources of production.

Calls for energy independence have been a popular in presidential speeches for decades – including President Obama, who pledged the same, and last year laid out a goal of curbing oil imports by one-third over the next decade.  But Romney’s plan is very different than the Obama energy agenda.

It calls for:

  • Dramatically expanding offshore oil and gas leasing, including five-year leasing plans to “set minimum production targets” and ensure that “state-of-the-art processes and safeguards for offshore drilling are implemented in a manner designed to support rather than block exploration and production.”
  • Approving the Keystone XL oil pipeline on “Day One”, and improving cooperation on cross border pipelines with Canada and Mexico.
  • Work with EPA “to strengthen environmental protection without destroying jobs, paralyzing industry or barring the use of resources like coal.”
  • Empowering states to “to oversee the development and production of all forms of energy on federal lands within their borders, excluding only lands specially designated off-limits.”
  • Formation of a State Energy Development Council.

As for renewable energy, the plan promises that “the same policies that will open access to land for oil, gas, and coal development can also open access for the construction of wind, solar, and hydropower facilities.”

The plan, also calls the Obama Administrations green jobs “obsession” unhealthy, noting that “green” jobs in Europe have come at a high cost – According to the plan, Spain’s experience shows that each new “green” job created destroyed 2.2 others. The price tag in subsidies rose to nearly $1.5 million per job in the wind industry. And according to the plan, in the United Kingdom, 3.7 jobs were lost for every new “green” job created.

The plan notes that here in the United States, of 3,586 recent graduates of a Department of Labor-sponsored “green” jobs training program, only 466 were able to find jobs.

Related News: Romney Sees Energy Independence by 2020