Mitt Romney on Energy & Oil
Former Republican Governor (MA); presidential nominee-apparent
OBAMA: We have increased oil production to the highest levels in 16 years. Natural gas production is the highest it's been in decades. We still continue to open up new areas for drilling. We continue to make it a priority for us to go after natural gas. we doubled clean energy production. All these things have contributed to us lowering our oil imports to the lowest levels in 16 years.
OBAMA: Romney said when I took office, the price of gasoline was $1.86. Why is that? Because the economy was on the verge of collapse, because we were about to go through the worst recession since the Great Depression, as a consequence of some of the same policies that Governor Romney's now promoting. So, it's conceivable that Governor Romney could bring down gas prices because with his policies, we might be back in that same mess.
ROMNEY: First of all, the tax break for oil companies is $2.8 billion a year. And it's actually an accounting treatment, as you know, that's been in place for a hundred years.
OBAMA: It's time to end it.
ROMNEY: In one year, you provided $90 billion in breaks to the green energy world. Now, I like green energy as well, but that's about 50 years' worth of what oil and gas receives. And you say Exxon and Mobil. Actually, this $2.8 billion goes largely to small companies, to drilling operators and so forth. But, you know, if we get that tax rate from 35% down to 25%, why that $2.8 billion is on the table. That's probably not going to survive you get that rate down to 25%. But you put $90 billion, like 50 years' worth of breaks, into solar and wind, to Solyndra and Fisker and Tester. I had a friend who said you don't just pick the winners and losers, you pick the losers.
A: I am not a scientist myself, but my best assessment of the data is that the world is getting warmer, that human activity contributes to that warming, and that policymakers should therefore consider the risk of negative consequences. However, there remains a lack of scientific consensus on the issue--on the extent of the warming, the extent of the human contribution, and the severity of the risk--and I believe we must support continued debate and investigation within the scientific community. Ultimately, the science is an input to the public policy decision; it does not dictate a particular policy response.
ROMNEY: I am a strong supporter of federally funded research. The answer to spending constraints is not to cut back on crucial investments in America's future, but rather to spend money more wisely. Pres. Obama spent $90 billion in stimulus dollars in a failed attempt to promote his green energy agenda. That same spending could have funded the nation's energy research programs for nearly twenty years. Good public policy must also ensure that federal research is being amplified in the private sector, and that major breakthroughs are able to make the leap from the laboratory to the marketplace. Unfortunately, Pres. Obama has pursued policies across a range of fields that will have the opposite effect.
A: A crucial component of my plan for a stronger middle class is to dramatically increase domestic energy production and partner closely with Canada and Mexico to achieve North American energy independence by 2020. While President Obama has described his own energy policy as a "hodgepodge," sent billions of taxpayer dollars to green energy projects run by political cronies, rejected the Keystone XL Pipeline as not in "the national interest," and sought repeatedly to stall development of America's domestic resources, my path forward would establish America as an energy superpower in the 21st century.
ROMNEY: Whereas President Obama has used environmental regulation as an excuse to block the development of resources and the construction of infrastructure, I will pursue a course that designs regulation not to stifle energy production but instead to facilitate responsible use of all energy sources--from oil and coal and natural gas, to nuclear and hydropower and biofuels, to wind and solar. Energy development, economic growth, and environmental protection can go hand-in-hand if the government focuses on transparency and fairness instead of seeking to pick winners and repay political favors.
As the first element of my plan for energy independence, I have proposed giving states authority to manage the development of energy resources within their borders, including on federal lands. States have crafted highly efficient and effective permitting and regulatory programs that address state-specific needs. For instance, while the federal government takes an average of 307 days to permit the drilling of an oil well on federal land, the state of North Dakota can permit a project in 10 days. Colorado does it in 27. Nor do these processes pose any greater environmental risks. To the contrary, states are far better able to develop, adopt, and enforce regulations.
In summer 2010, he delivered an unequivocal response to questions about his views on the deterioration of the environment: "I don't speak for the scientific community, of course, but I believe the world's getting warmer. I can't prove that, but I believe based on what I read that the world is getting warmer. And number two, I believe that humans contribute to that. I don't know how much our contribution is to that, because I know that there have been periods of greater heat and warmth in the past, but I believe we contribute to that. And so I think it's important for us to reduce our emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases that may well be significant contributors to the climate change and the global warming that you're seeing."
Conclusion: Romney is still tap dancing on energy. He has also said that the country must reduce its dependence on oil, period, not just foreign oil.
PAUL: I've opposed this. I approach it from a state's rights position. What right does 49 states have to punish one state and say, "We're going to put our garbage in your state"?
ROMNEY: I don't always agree with Rep. Paul, but I do on that. The idea that 49 states can tell Nevada, "We want to give you our nuclear waste," doesn't make a lot of sense. I think the people of Nevada ought to have the final say as to whether they want that, and my guess is that for them to say yes to something like that, someone's going to have to offer them a pretty good deal, as opposed to having the federal government jam it down their throat. And if Nevada says, "Look, we don't want it," then let other states make bids and say, hey, look, we'll take it; here's the compensation we want for taking it. Let the free market work. And where the people say the deal's a good one will decide where we put this stuff.
I am uncertain how much of the warming, however, is attributable to man and how much is attributable to factors out of our control. I do not support radical feel-good policies like a unilateral US cap-and-trade mandate. Such policies would have little effect on the climate but could cripple economic growth.
Oil is purported to be one of the primary contributors to rising global temperatures. If in fact global warming is importantly caused by our energy appetite, it's yet one more reason for going on an energy diet.
Scientists are nearly unanimous in laying the blame for rising temperatures on greenhouse gas emissions. Of course there are also reasons for skepticism. The earth may be getting warmer, but there have been numerous times in the earth's history when temperatures have been warmer than they are now.
These considerations lead me to this: We would pursue a no-regrets policy at home, and we should continue to engage in global efforts--not just US & European efforts--to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. By no regrets, I mean that we ought to take unilateral action on emissions when doing so is also consistent with our objective for reducing our dependence on foreign oil.
Internationally, we should work to limit the increase in emissions in greenhouse gases, but in doing so, we shouldn't put ourselves in a disadvantageous economic position that penalizes American jobs and economic growth.
Whether global warming or energy security is one's primary concern, everyone agrees that finding substitute fuels for oil is a good thing.
Nuclear power is a win-win; it's a domestic energy source with zero greenhouse emissions. Nuclear power poses the single largest opportunity to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. Without increased nuclear generation, global temperatures cannot achieve the two-degree Celsius goal. So if you're serious about global warming, you have to say yes to nuclear; and if like me you're serious about energy security, you get to the same place.
And it basically would slow down our economy without helping the environment at all, because major users of energy would take their production to countries like China that wouldn’t sign the deal.
It is basically saying the cost of global warming would all be borne by American rate-payers and consumers. He just doesn’t understand how the economy works.
A: We spend about $4 billion a year right now on energy research to try and help us become less energy dependent on foreign sources. And I think over the coming years we need to increase our investment to become energy independent from about $4 billion a year to about $20 billion a year. Obviously, that has got to grow gradually because there are not a lot of places now that do the kind of research we need to do to get ourselves energy independent. But that’s not just to bail out the automobile industry. That’s not what I have in mind. I’m not looking for a bailout at all. Instead, it’s saying that where we invest, we tend to do very well.
A: Look at Washington. They gave it CAFE standards, which hurt. Some Senators are talking about a new form of tax on energy in this country, which would make it even harder on the domestic companies.
Q: Well, their point is that you have got to do something about global warming. Isn’t that your understanding?
A: Oh, sure. And there’s nothing wrong with dealing with global warming. But there is a big difference between talking about global warming, which requires global solutions, and the idea of America warming. No one talks about America warming. If we’re going to have solutions that deal, for instance, with a cap in trade program or a BTU tax or anything of that nature, it has to be global in its sweep. But Sen. McCain’s proposition is that we do this as America only. A unilateral effort would only cause higher costs here, and give the advantage to nations that already have a substantial cost advantage.
“I will initiate a bold and far-reaching research initiative--an Energy Revolution. It will be our generation’s equivalent of the Manhattan Project or of the mission to reach the Moon.“
”While scientists are still debating how much human activity impacts the environment, we can all agree that alternative energy sources will be good for the planet. For any and all for these reasons, the time for true energy independence has come.“
GIULIANI: I think we have to accept the view that scientists have that there is global warming and that humans contribute to that. It’s frustrating and really dangerous for us to see money going to our enemies because we have to buy oil from certain countries. We should be supporting all the alternatives. We need a project similar to putting a man on the moon.
ROMNEY: Rudy Giuliani is right in terms of an Apollo project to get us energy independent, and the effects of that on global warming are positive. It’s a no-regrets policy. It’s a great idea. [We need,] as a strategic imperative, energy independence for America. And it takes that Apollo project. It also takes biodiesel, biofuel, cellulosic ethanol, nuclear power, more drilling in ANWR. We have to be serious also about efficiency and that’s going to allow us to become energy independent.
A: Big oil is making a lot of money right now, and I’d like to see them using that money to invest in refineries. Don’t forget that when companies earn profit, that money is supposed to be reinvested in growth. And our refineries are old. Someone said our refineries today are rust with paint holding them up. And we need to see these companies, if they’re making that kind of money, reinvest in capital equipment. But let’s not forget, where the money is being made throughout these years is not just in the major oil companies, it’s in the countries that own this oil. Ahmadinejad, Putin, Chavez--these people are getting rich off of people buying too much oil. And that’s why we have to pursue, as a strategic imperative, energy independence for America.
With regards to our developing more energy, I want to see us use more of our renewable resources: bio-diesel, bio-fuel, ethanol, cellulosic ethanol. I want to see us developing liquefied coal if we can sequester the CO2 properly. I want to see nuclear power. I want to see us develop our own oil off-shore, and in ANWR.
On the other side of the equation, in addition to developing our energy, we have to be more efficient in our use of it. And that means more fuel efficient vehicles. It means more energy efficient homes. The combination of more efficiency and the generation of more domestic-sourced energy will allow us to become energy independent. And that has as the benefit, of reducing our emissions of CO2.
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