Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s “new” energy plan, relies on 19th century fossil fuel technology. It
is but the latest incarnation of a longstanding Republican obsession with oil
and gas. Romney’s energy strategy is reliant on Canada’s environmentally
disastrous tar sands. He wants to expedite the Keystone XL pipeline, reduce
regulations on hydraulic fracturing and ease the permitting process for offshore
oil and gas. Romney wants to take regulatory power away from the federal
government and give it to individual states. He wants to amend the Clean Air
Act and Clean Water Act and weaken the EPA’s ability to regulate pollution.While Romney is pushing for more oil and gas, his plan does not advocate
either conservation or efficiency. Instead he would end subsidies for renewable
sources of energy like solar and wind.
The Republican convention in Florida was delayed due to concerns about
Hurricane Isaac. The timing of Isaac is ironic given that GOP appears oblivious
to the relationship between global warming and extreme weather. They do not see
the powerful symbolism of four hurricanes, Andrew, Katrina, Irene and now Isaac,
all landing at roughly the same time and in the same place.
The Republican presidential hopeful’s support for
fossil fuels ignores the overwhelming price of extreme weather. With a cost of
$81 billion and 1,836 dead, Katrina was the most expensive natural disaster in
American history. About 20 years ago this week, Hurricane Andrew hit Florida; it
cost $25 billion and killed 15 people. Hurricane Irene struck one year ago and
caused an estimated $15 billion in damage while killing at least 67 people.
Romney continues to push for more offshore oil despite the fact that
Hurricane Isaac will likely stir up oil left over from the massive Gulf spill of
2010. The remnants of that spill take the form of large tar mats that lie
submerged just off the coast.
It appears nothing will deter Romney from pursuing his wanton desire to
increase America’s reliance on oil and gas. As reviewed in a Grist
article by Lisa Hymas, Mitt Romney’s 21 page energy strategy mentions oil a total of 154
times and natural gas 36 times. The document references coal more often than
solar or wind energy and efficiency only gets mentioned once. His plan
completely ignores the smart grid, sustainability and climate change.
Romney claims his fossil fuel fixation will create jobs and he eschews
government support for renewable energy. However, clean energy has been a great
jobs creator, in many cases far more than the fossil fuel industry. In Iowa
alone, 7,000 jobs have been created in the wind power industry.
Thanks to the wind production tax credit (PTC), the wind industry now employs
more people than the coal sector. The US solar energy industry currently employs
100,000 workers at 5,600 companies.
The Republican nominee wants to kill support for renewable energy while
continuing to give oil companies $4 billion in annual subsidies. In addition, the Romney plan
would provide a $2.3 billion tax cut for the big five oil companies through cuts
in the corporate tax rate. Over the next 9 years, the U.S. coal industry is
expected to receive $8 billion in taxpayer support.
Romney claims oil is more economical, but his plan does not factor the
massive health care costs associated with the burning of fossil fuels. According
to a Harvard Medical study, these costs amount to $345 billion. When health issues are factored into the
equation the cost of coal per kilowatt is more than 3x the cost of wind.
Romney’s emphasis on oil and gas and resistance to support renewable energy
should come as no surprise as his top advisors are closely affiliated with the
fossil fuel industry. Harold Hamm is the founder, chairman and chief executive
officer of Continental Resources Inc. (CLR). Hamm is one of the richest people
in America and the chairman of Romney’s Energy Policy Advisory Group. Romney’s
other advisors are also oil industry insiders. David Wilkins is a Canadian
lobbyist for tar sands oil and Andrea Saul was formerly with the DCI Group, a
public affairs and lobbying firm that has worked with Big Oil to undermine the
facts on global warming.
At one time, Romney was a strong supporter of action on climate change. Now
in his bid to be President, he is leading the climate deniers with a strategy
that seems to invite climate change. Romney is a political opportunist
who is depending on the oil and gas industry to help fund his campaign.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Romney has directly received more than $1 million from the oil and
gas industry and the Koch brothers are expected to spend up to $200 million
to help get their man elected.
Romney’s love of fossil fuel is at odds with the sentiments of most
Americans. Americans hate the oil and gas industry and want global warming and
clean energy to be national priorities. According to an August Gallup poll, a
total of 61 percent of Americans gave the fossil fuel industry a negative
rating, the worst of any industry in the U.S. Romney’s opposition to clean
energy is also at odds with the views of the American public. A March Gallup
poll had found that people were twice
as likely to support solar and wind energy than coal or natural gas. The
same poll found that 69 percent of Americans favored spending more government
money on developing renewable energy.
As reviewed in a press release from the Sierra Club, greenhouse gas emissions
are down to their lowest level in 20 years, Americans are using less oil, and
new fuel standards will double efficiency and slash CO2. Over the last four
years U.S. wind power has doubled and solar has grown by a factor of five. All
of these advances would be reversed by Romney’s energy plan.
Romney’s intention to double down on oil and natural gas is a policy position
that is incompatible with a 21st century economy. Romney’s resistance to
renewable energy and support for fossil fuels is nothing short of reckless. His
plan would result in the loss of tens of thousands of jobs in the clean energy
industry and unleash pollutants that would harm Americans.
Romney’s energy strategy is a blueprint for increasing emissions and a
roadmap for runaway climate change. America simply cannot afford a President who
is so willfully ignorant on energy and the environment.
GOP VP Candidate Paul Ryan’s Unsustainable Voting Record on Energy and the Environment
Romney’s Coal Fired Campaign Versus Obama’s Wind Power
Mitt Romeny: The Legacy He Will Leave for our Children
Romney Increasingly Uncertain about the Climate Change
Environmental Politics: Obama Versus the Republicans
The Ignorant Anti-Environmental Views of the Republicans
The Koch Brother’s Ties to GOP Presidential Candidates
Republicans Vow to Continue Push for Keystone XL
Video: Conservatives Against Republican Denialism
Video: The Republican War on Climate Science
Video: Republicans Anti-Scientific Stance
Republican Obstructionism on the Debt Crisis and Implications for the Environment
Republican Cuts Target Green Jobs
Republican Gubernatorial Gains and Redistricting
Republican’s Fail in their Bid to Defund the EPA
Defend Clean Air and Oppose the TRAIN Act
Republican Assault on the Environment
EDF Campaign Opposing US Anti-Environment Bill
Environmental Implications of the Credit Ceiling Agreement
Chu Video: The Worst Anti-Environmental Bill of her Career
Connolly Video: Climate Disasters And GOP Denial
Blumenauer Video: ‘The Jihad Against Climate Change Continues’
Republican Obstructionism on the Debt Ceiling Risks Global Environmental Collapse
Republicans Undermining Climate Legislation
Supreme Court Decision Undermines Climate Change Legislation
Protecting the Planet from Corporate Influence
Green Stimulus Spending and Republican Opposition
What is Wrong with the Right
The Business of Climate Change Deception