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Election 2012: Where the candidates stand on energy

by on January 26, 2012
Positions on energy are outlined of the five candidates who are currently in the running in the 2012 race for the White House.

(Story by Jessica Taylor)

With the race for the White House intensifying, now is a good time to begin doing your homework on where the candidates stand on various issues. One item common to all of the candidates’ agendas is energy.

Each of the four remaining Republican challengers, as well as President Obama, has dedicated portions of their campaign websites to the issue. Beyond their individual plans for the industry, the candidates make the connection between energy policy and other campaign subjects such as job creation and strengthening the economy. The matrix below contains statements pulled directly from each candidate’s official website.

Regulatory Issues Management will be continually updating the matrix as the candidates release official statements on various energy related topics.

Barack Obama (D)

  • The Obama administration approved the country’s first-ever offshore wind farm in 2010. The wind farm will consist of 130 wind turbines off the coast of Cape Cod that will produce enough clean electricity to power more than 200,000 homes. The project is also expected to spur the growth of clean energy industry along the East Coast and in the Great Lakes.
  • The administration has approved the construction of 13 commercial-scale solar facilities on public lands that are expected to power nearly 1.5 million homes and create 8,600 jobs.
  • The President made an agreement with auto manufacturers that will improve the overall fuel economy of the nation’s auto fleet to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025 — nearly twice the 27.5 mpg standard that was in place when he took office. The new standards are projected to save families an estimated $8,200 in fuel costs over the life of a vehicle.
  • Under President Obama’s watch, the Environmental Protection Agency has proposed the first national standards for mercury emissions and other dangerous chemicals from coal and oil-fired power plants. The new rules will help to clear our skies of pollutants that can make health problems like asthma and bronchitis worse, saving up to 17,000 lives each year.
  • The Obama administration established new safety regulations for offshore drilling projects in the wake of the BP disaster, designed to prevent the same irresponsible risk-taking from happening again while continuing to allow the safe, responsible development of off-shore energy. In 2010, the United States produced more oil than it has since 2003 and the most natural gas it’s produced in 30 years.
  • President Obama has made the environment a priority, moving us towards energy independence, investing in clean-energy jobs, and taking steps to improve the quality of our air and water.
  • As of November 2010, the Obama administration’s policies have helped the private sector create 1 million jobs through public investments that jump-started additional private investment — nearly a quarter of those jobs in the clean energy industry.
  • The clean energy sector creates the jobs of today and tomorrow, helps protect our environment, and reduces our dependence on foreign oil.
  • President Obama signed a law that provided for one of the largest expansions of federally protected wilderness in decades.
  • President Obama provided tax incentives and made investments in clean energy technologies such as wind turbines and advanced car batteries to grow high-technology U.S. manufacturing capacity and supply clean energy projects with American-made parts and equipment.


Newt Gingrich (R)

  • Remove bureaucratic and legal obstacles to responsible oil and natural gas development in the United States, offshore and on land.
  • End the ban on oil shale development in the American West, where we have three times the amount of oil as Saudi Arabia.
  • Give coastal states federal royalty revenue sharing to give them an incentive to allow offshore development.
  • Reduce frivolous lawsuits that hold up energy production by enacting loser pays laws to force the losers in an environmental lawsuit to pay all legal costs for the other side.
  • Finance cleaner energy research and projects with new oil and gas royalties.
  • Replace the Environmental Protection Agency, which has become a job-killing regulatory engine of higher energy prices, with an Environmental Solutions Agency that would use incentives and work cooperatively with local government and industry to achieve better environmental outcomes while considering the impact of federal environmental policies on job creation and the cost of energy.


Ron Paul (R)

  • Remove restrictions on drilling, so companies can tap into the vast amount of oil we have here at home.
  • Repeal the federal tax on gasoline. Eliminating the federal gas tax would result in an 18 cents savings per gallon for American consumers.
  • Lift government roadblocks to the use of coal and nuclear power.
  • Eliminate the ineffective EPA. Polluters should answer directly to property owners in court for the damages they create – not to Washington.
  • Make tax credits available for the purchase and production of alternative fuel technologies.
  • Driving down gas prices by allowing offshore drilling, abolishing highway motor fuel taxes, increasing the mileage reimbursement rates, and offering tax credits to individuals and businesses for the use and production of natural gas vehicles.


Mitt Romney (R)

  • Establish fixed timetables for all resource development approvals.
  • Create one-stop shop to streamline permitting process for approval of common activities.
  • Implement fast-track procedures for companies with established safety records to conduct pre-approved activities in pre-approved areas.
  • Ensure that environmental laws properly account for cost in regulatory process.
  • Amend Clean Air Act to exclude carbon dioxide from its purview.
  • Expand Nuclear Regulatory Commission capabilities for approval of additional nuclear reactor designs.
  • Streamline NRC processes to ensure that licensing decisions for reactors on or adjacent to approved sites, using approved designs, are complete within two years.
  • Conduct comprehensive survey of America’s energy reserves.
  • Open America’s energy reserves for development.
  • Expand opportunities for U.S. resource developers to forge partnerships with neighboring countries.
  • Support construction of pipelines to bring Canadian oil to the United States.
  • Prevent overregulation of shale gas development and extraction.
  • Concentrate alternative energy funding on basic research.
  • Utilize long-term, apolitical funding mechanisms like ARPA-E for basic research.


Rick Santorum (R)

  • Eliminate all energy and most agriculture subsidies within four years letting the markets work, eliminate resources for job killing radical regulatory approaches at the EPA and refocus its mission on safe and clean water and air and commonsense conservation, eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood and support adoption, reduce funding for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for extreme positions under-mining economic freedom, eliminate funding for implementation of ObamaCare, and eliminate funding for United Nations organizations that undermine America’s interests.
  • Tap into America’s vast domestic energy resources to power our 21st century economy without picking winners and losers so all American families and businesses can have lower energy cost.
  • Approve the Keystone Pipeline and other job-creating initiatives delayed and burdened excessively by government regulation.
  • Strengthen our national security and national defense so that we are not dependent upon our foes or competitors for critical manufacturing, technology, energy and other security needs.
One Comment
  1. I am quite informed about where these people stand on the issues but I am retired and have more time too do this. The President has opinions on things that I don’t agree with not only energy. The man is bound and determined too remake America and he told everyboby that when he was running for office. The people in general were not listening and voted for this man now oh my oh my!!! The people who are running for the Repuplican side of these elections are pretty much on the same page but my bet is on Newt!! Thanks for taking the time too write the article. Ed

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