Mitt Romney yesterday unveiled an energy plan that would expand oil and gas drilling, give states broad control over production on federal lands, and amend the Clean Air Act to remove regulation of carbon dioxide emissions, all policies the presidential candidate says are aimed at creating jobs and achieving North American energy independence by 2020.
The Romney energy plan, a key component of the candidate’s jobs strategy, would relax rules for the US power sector, streamline permitting for offshore oil and gas industries and reform nuclear regulations in order to speed up approvals.
The Romney plan calls for both the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act to be overhauled. The plan claims 250,000 jobs are threatened by new hazardous air pollutant regulations targeting coal-fired power plants and 800,000 jobs are at risk from the EPA’s Boiler MACT rule, which requires industrial boilers and incinerators to reduce air pollutants like mercury and soot.
The Romney plan also says the Clean Air Act was not intended to control carbon dioxide emissions and if elected, Romney would work to amend the law.
Jack Gerard, president and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute, the largest trade group for the US oil and gas industry, said the proposals in Romney’s plan will provide economic stimulus and and job creation.
The plan also would seek to strengthen partnerships with Canada, the No. 1 supplier of oil to the US, and Mexico, also a major source. The proposals, which aims to dramatically increase domestic energy production, would create three million jobs, Romney said.
The plan includes policies Romney has already floated on the campaign trail, including the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, a proposed project that would carry oil sands crude from Alberta to refineries along the US Gulf Coast. The Obama Administration initially rejected a permit application from Keystone developer TransCanada over concerns from officials in Nebraska regarding risks to the Ogallala aquifer, but has approved the southern leg of the 1,700-mile pipeline.
The Romney plan also attacks subsidies for renewable energy and proposes redirecting funding for clean energy projects and startup companies into basic federal research into energy technologies.
Rhone Resch, president and CEO of solar industry group SEIA, attacked the proposals, saying that solar is a domestic resource that could help the country achieve energy independence. He also noted the US solar energy industry employs 100,000 workers at 5,600 companies.