by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Last night’s debate focused more on foreign policy, but you might be interested in a new Fortune magazine article that compares how the two major-party presidential contenders would address energy issues.
The shape of our energy industry will differ dramatically under Romney compared with a second Obama term. Jim Talent, a former U.S. senator (R-Mo.), sketches out Romney’s basic philosophy in a white paper on the candidate’s official website: “The problem is not that America does not have energy. The problem is that our government — alone among the governments of the world — will not allow its own people to recover the energy that they possess.” Romney’s policies heavily favor the development of America’s fossil fuels, including an emphasis on more oil, gas, and coal production, the opening up of more federal lands and offshore sites for exploration and development, and severely curtailing the power of the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate carbon and other emissions.
Obama, too, favors more oil and gas production — oil production last year hit an eight-year high — but he doesn’t stop there. Says Tom Steyer, a managing partner at the investment firm Farallon Capital and a Democratic supporter: “The President is trying to pursue all of the above, including renewables.” Adds Dan Reicher, the executive director of the Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance at Stanford and also a campaign adviser who spoke to Fortune on behalf of the Obama camp: “If we followed Romney’s policies, we’d be in a much weaker position in terms of green energy technology and could put our health and environment at greater risk. I also worry that the progress we’ve made on reducing our dependency on foreign oil would be reversed.”
If an all-of-the-above approach sounds reasonable to you, it might be a good idea to reconsider David Schnare’s comments on that topic from a 2011 presentation to the John Locke Foundation’s Shaftesbury Society and an interview with Carolina Journal Radio/CarolinaJournal.tv.