Mitt Romney Says Plan Will Achieve North American Energy Independence by 2020
by Philip Rucker (The Washington Post) …While Romney stressed the idea of independence, the plan relies heavily on imports from Canada and Mexico, two of the world’s biggest oil producers. Hence the use of the phrase “North American” before energy independence.
…“The net-net of all this, as you can see, is by 2020, we’re able to produce somewhere between 23 million and 28 million barrels per day of oil, and we won’t need to buy any oil from the Middle East or Venezuela or anywhere else where we don’t want to,” Romney said. That figure would include output from Canada and Mexico, according to Energy Information Administration figures.
To reach those totals, Romney also cited output of biofuels — ethanol or diesel, for instance — which would produce about 1 million barrels a day in additional capacity. While Romney has criticized subsidies and tax breaks for renewable energy sources, his white paper said he would preserve the government-mandated renewable fuels standard, which requires oil refiners to blend minimum amounts of biofuels into gasoline. That mandate has helped prop up demand for biofuels in recent years.
…His plan would also open new areas for offshore drilling, starting off the coasts of Virginia and the Carolinas, and empower the states to lease federal lands for oil, coal and natural gas development.
Under the plan, the federal government would remove or loosen environmental statutes and regulations that Romney says have undermined coal production and slowed the expansion of oil and gas drilling.
…The Obama campaign said Romney’s plan amounted to a “backward, drilling-focused energy policy” that prioritizes tax breaks for big oil and gas companies.
…“This isn’t a recipe for energy independence,” Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith said in a statement. “It’s just another irresponsible scheme to help line the pockets of big oil while allowing the U.S. to fall behind and cede the clean energy sector to China.” READ MORE and MORE and MORE and MORE (Renewable Fuels Association) and MORE (Biofuels Digest) Romney Energy Plan PDF
Excerpts from Washington Posts (Brad Plumer) “Five things to know about Mitt Romney’s energy plan”
… 2) Energy independence will require more than just drilling — it will also depend on fuel-economy standards that Romney has opposed. Mitt Romney’s plan spends a lot of time talking about drilling. But both Citigroup and EIA also credit the Obama administration’s fuel-economy standards for cars and light trucks as a major reason why America is now lurching toward energy independence. Once finalized, those CAFE standards are expected to reduce U.S. oil consumption by up to 2.2 million barrels per day by 2025. If those rules didn’t exist, energy independence will be extremely difficult. And Romney, for his part, has previously said he would overturn the CAFE rules. That’s a big asterisk in his plan.
…5) Romney’s plan gives short shrift to other concerns, particularly global warming. At no point in Romney’s plan does he mention climate change. True, a boom in U.S. natural gas or even oil production isn’t necessarily incompatible with tackling global warming. (Indeed, natural gas could even help on that front, if it displaces carbon-heavy coal plants.) But simply expanding fossil-fuel production without a more comprehensive plan to tackle climate change will mean that emissions just keep rising and rising. Romney’s only suggestion here appears to be to repeal the EPA’s limits on carbon dioxide pollutionfrom power plants. This is a big change from the 2008 campaign, when both Obama and John McCain proposed cap-and-trade plans to reduce carbon emissions.
Romney’s plan also says relatively little about safety standards for increased oil and gas drilling, except to criticize the Obama administration for imposing a moratorium on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico after BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The regulation question is particularly salient when it comes to natural-gas fracking. As the International Energy Agency outlined in a recent report, there’s a real risk that public concern over fracking could stymie gas development unless careful regulations are put in place. READ MORE