Romney energy plan wants to open federal lands to drill onshore and US waters to drill offshore, but gives short shrift to renewable energy and ignores fuel efficiency, carbon-dioxide emissions, and climate change. Part 1 of a three-part series on the Romney energy plan.
On 22 August, the Republican campaign released its “The Romney Plan For A Stronger Middle Class: ENERGY INDEPENDENCE.”
In its “Executive Summary,” the White Paper lists the “Romney Agenda” six points as: “empower states to control onshore energy development; open offshore areas for energy development; pursue a North American Energy Partnership; ensure accurate assessment of energy resources; restore transparency and fairness to permitting and regulation; and facilitate private-sector-led development of new energy technologies.”
While it is beyond the scope of these three articles to comment point by point on this proposal, a number of issues raised nevertheless are relevant, given that the Romney white paper states in its introduction, “Romney’s path forward would establish America as an energy superpower in the 21st century.”
Is the document actually a step “forward,” “business as usual,” or retrograde? (See more from Oilprice.com: The Implications of Saudi Arabia becoming a Net Oil Importer.)
The report emphasizes enhancing America’s traditional coal and oil industries, according to the document, stymied by burdensome federal regulation, as well the U.S. surging production of natural gas via hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.”
Shorn of vague platitudes, the Romney plan is pro-drilling, anti-regulation and criticizes the Obama administration for funding renewable energy alternatives, while containing no mention of climate change or CO2 carbon issues, a topic of increasing concern to many governments worldwide. Romney insists that the U.S. will need to open up more federal lands and waters to oil and natural gas drilling, the federal government will need devolve more power to states to approve permits to increase drilling and the U.S. must partner Canada and Mexico to utilize their energy resources to promote “North American energy independence by 2020.” A small but interesting point – “North American energy independence” is not U.S. energy independence, but rather, leaves the U.S. beholden to Canadian and Mexican energy policies.
The 21 page document contains vague 80 sentences outlining the Romney-Ryan energy strategy for the next four years, but 99 “Did You Know?” references designed to bolster support for Romney’s energy agenda, culled from disparate sources ranging from the federal agencies, including the Energy Information Agency, through the New York Times (6 references), Wall Street Journal (3 references), Washington Post (3 references), Britain’s Financial Times (2 references), Canada’s Globe and Mail (1 reference) and USA Today (5 references) newspapers through the New York headquartered international financial conglomerate Citigroup, which appears six times.
The “Did You Know?” sections are the bulk of the white paper, and their sources range from government agencies to private financial institutions, all carefully cherry-picked to appear strongly supportive of Romney’s energy agenda. Accordingly, the white paper should be treated with caution for those seeking an objective oversight of America’s current energy situation, much less its future.
These sections are not designed not so much as to bring Romney supporters onboard but rather, to convince undecided voters that the Romney agenda is progressive and that the Obama administration has been blocking the points outlined in the manifesto.
Underlining the selectiveness of the “Did You Know?” sections is the fact that the credibility of several of the financial institutions, much less the “think tanks” cited as ostensibly objective, is suspect. (See more from Oilprice.com: A Chink in Riyadh's Armor?)
Several of the fiscal institutions cited being used to promote a Romney presidency have nevertheless benefitted from the Obama administration’s fiscal support. Top of the list is Citigroup, which in May CNN reported that was one of the Romney’s campaign’s six largest donors.(Charles Riley, “Wall Street ditches Obama, backs Romney,” 29 May 29 2012 @ http://money.cnn.com/2012/05/29/news/economy/romney-obama-wall-street/index.htm.)