Tonight as you listen to the debate and Rolling Stone Magazine.talk about renewable energy, please consider that his energy policy is bought and paid for by big oil. In an extensively researched article by Jeff Goodell, the truth about Romney’s so-called energy policy as presidential candidate and as governor of Massachusetts is revealed in
Romney’s energy policy can be defined in one word: drill. His argument cites technological innovations like fracking have opened the oil interest in the US and there is an abundance of oil and gas we can now reach—if we drill everything in sight including public lands and fragile lands like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge the United States will be an “energy superpower.” Goodell points out that “the Republicans claim (these energy policies), will lower energy prices, create 3 million new jobs, add $500 billion to the gross domestic product, boost tax revenues by $1 trillion and strengthen national security by increasing freedom from dependence on foreign energy supplies."
This is the energy policy of the Koch brothers, who have pledged $400 million in campaign contributions including Super PAC money to make sure their man in Washington is Mitt Romney. Are you convinced yet? During a recent stop in Texas, Romney raked in nearly $7 million during a single lunch hosted by ExxonMobil CEOand other oil and gas executives. As Justin Ruben, the executive director of MoveOn, puts it: "It's not a stretch to say that the fossil-fuel industry is attempting a hostile takeover of the US political system."
Romney recently unveiled his so-called "energy plan" during a campaign stop in New Mexico. The plan touts being energy independence by 2020, but the hidden agenda is achieving this by drilling for oil. The US imports 45 percent of its oil, which calculates out to $1 billion a day going to countries like Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Venezuela. Included is oil from Canada through the Keystone XL pipeline and drilling in the US on federal lands. The claims my Romney that this will make us “energy independent” are debunked by Michael Levi, energy expert at the Council on Foreign Relations, according to the Rolling Stone article.
The article continues: “For one thing, because oil is easier and cheaper to transport than coal and natural gas, it's sold on the global market – which means that what we pump out of the ground here doesn't necessarily stay here. The whole point of the Keystone pipeline, for example, is to connect the dirty oil flowing out of Canada's tar sands with refineries on the Gulf Coast, where the oil can be directly shipped to overseas markets. The only way to keep domestic oil in America – even if foreign markets are willing to pay more for it – would be to nationalize the oil industry, a solution that is decidedly not a part of the GOP's energy plan.”
"The only real path to energy independence is to get off oil completely," says Steve Kretzmann, the executive director of Oil Change International, a group that advocates a transition to clean energy. Romney’s plan does not include alternative energy or more stringent fuel standards for cars or higher gasoline taxes. Republicans historically have not supported alternative energy. They have supported laws that enshrine taxpayer subsidies for fossil fuels, attacked efforts to develop and research solar and wind power.
Campaign contributions by big oil are astonishing. “By the end of August, the oil and gas industry had given more than $36 million to federal candidates and their PACs – nearly 90 percent of it to Republicans. ExxonMobil alone has given more than $1 million so far this year; Sun power, the most generous solar company, has contributed only $17,000.” As Ruben of MoveOn puts it: "You can't separae the Republican energy policy from the fact that the Koch brothers are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to buy the election for Romney."
Solyndra encouraged by former President Bush
Romney presents himself as the experienced businessman and continues to rile on the defaulted $535 million federal loan. In fact, Solyndra was encouraged by former President Bush, not President Obama, to apply for a federal loan.
In addition, the company – which was backed by $1 billion in private capital – failed because of increased competition in the solar industry, which has been booming ever since Obama's stimulus passed. But that hasn't stopped congressional Republicans from issuing subpoenas for 300,000 pages of Solyndra documents and spending $1 million in taxpayer money on a political witch hunt that has uncovered no evidence of wrongdoing or corruption.
As presidential candidate Romney turns to the polls and the Tea Party for guidance in developing his “energy plan.” His current stance on climate change is a flip-flop from when he was governor when he accepted the science of climate researchers. Now, he is enlisting the Tea Party platform for climate change policy purporting it’s a liberal plot to destroy the US economy.
The GOP platform brings up climate change only to bash it as a job-killer. "We oppose any and all cap-and-trade legislation," the platform states – bluntly dismissing a proven, market-based approach to fighting climate change that the GOP once championed as an alternative to a carbon tax.”
Romney claimed that expanding oil and gas production would create 3 million new jobs, including 1 million in manufacturing. "Job creation numbers are always speculative," says Sean Sweeney, head of the Global Labor Institute at Cornell University. "With Romney, it's all about voodoo accounting."
recently claimed on "Meet the Press" that completing the Keystone pipeline would create "over a million jobs." But even TransCanada, the company that will build the pipeline, estimates that it will create only 6,500 jobs a year.
“In reality, studies show that investments to spur renewable energy and boost energy efficiency generate far more jobs than oil and coal. A recent report by the Center for American Progress and the University of Massachusetts concluded that $150 billion invested in renewable energy would generate 1.7 million more jobs than the same amount invested in fossil fuels. Another study by the Union of Concerned Scientists found that a national standard requiring utilities to obtain at least 25 percent of their power from wind, solar and bioenergy by 2025 would create 297,000 new jobs, generating $13.5 billion in income for rural landowners and $11.5 billion in new tax revenues for local governments. In addition, the private sector has recognized the lucrative opportunities offered by clean energy: In 2010 – for the first time ever – investments in renewable energy surpassed those in fossil fuels.”
Tax credit where it will do the most good
Wind tax credit of 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour of wind-generation electricity is due to expire at the end of this year. This allows it to compete against coal, gas and nuclear energy. Iowa is a good example of how wind generated electricity is not only possible but creates jobs and private investment. 20 percent of Iowa’s electricity is from wind, has created 7,000 new jobs and is generating $5 billion in private investment.
Does Romney support this? No, putting approximate 37,000 jobs at risk in the Midwest. Even Republicans have come out against Romney. Rep.says Romney "lacks full understanding of how important the wind-energy tax credit is for Iowa and our nation," while Sen. calls Romney's plan "a knife in my back."
To be fair, Romney is not against all attempts to use the power of the federal government to boost renewable energy – just the effective ones. He supports the current federal mandate requiring 13 billion gallons of ethanol to be used in gasoline this year – a disastrous law that has diverted 40 percent of the US corn crop into fuel production, done nothing to reduce climate-warming pollution and raised food prices worldwide. "Our ethanol policy is becoming the moral equivalent of shooting some poor Indian farmers," Jeremy Grantham, a leading hedge-fund manager and global-commodities expert, has observed. "Death just comes more slowly and painfully."
Big Oil’s Dream VP Pick
Big oil is still celebrating Romney’s vice presidential pick of Paul Ryan. Why? Because Ryan advocates expanded oil and gas drilling in the United States and support for nuclear power. Romney and Ryan are united in energy policy—at least with each other, if not with the people of the United States. The House budget, which he authored, also reflects his positions to expand drilling and slash incentives for clean-energy technologies, according to TheHill.com. “This budget would roll back federal intervention and expensive corporate-welfare funding directed to the president’s allied industries,” the proposal says.
True to Republican form, regulatory restrictions are also on the chopping block. The budget blueprint also proposes scaling back EPA regulations, according to a profile in Politico. The League of Conservation Voters was quick to criticize Romney’s choice of Ryan, calling him “Big Oil’s Dream VP Pick.”
Read Jeff Goodell’s article in Rolling Stone in its entirety here.
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