Published on August 27th, 2012 | by Christopher DeMorro
Mitt Romney’s Energy Plan: By Big Oil, For Big Oil
As America’s next hopeful CEO…err, President, Willard Mitt Romney is running largely on his business credentials, and the fact that he isn’t named “Obama.” But what does Romney plan to do if elected President? Well outside of repealing Obamacare and cutting taxes, Romney hasn’t been exactly forthcoming about his plans.
But the Presidential hopeful did release an energy plan last Friday that called for “energy independence” by 2020. The only problem? This plan, written by the Big Oil industry, won’t do anything but increase industrial profits at the cost of the average consumer.
Picking Favorites On An Uneven Playing Field
First, just the facts. Romney has already called for eliminating special deductions for electric cars and green home improvements, as well as government funding for green energy projects like wind farms and solar arrays. Romney has also pledged to maintain the $40 billion in subsidies the oil companies receive from Uncle Sam.
The rest of the Romney oil plan is basically a point-by-point of the Republican party platform; fewer regulations + more drilling = larger government receipts. The Romney Energy policy would open new Federal lands to drilling, including large tracts off the coasts of Florida and Virginia. According to Romney, this plan would result in an extr $1 trillion in government revenue, more than 3 million new jobs, and American energy independence by 2020, and all without sending a single dollar to the Middle East.
Unfortuantely, there are so many problems with this proposed policy that I almost don’t know where to start.
Feeding The Hand That Drills
I could start with the fact that the oil and natural gas lobby, which just donated $10 million to the Romney campaign, had a hand in writing this “policy.” Reports indicate that oil magnate Harold Hamm, an Oklahoma billionaire, had a large hand in writing this pro-Big Oil policy. While some may argue that the private sector knows better, many regulations are already so poorly enforced that further deregulation is almost scary to think about. Can America really afford another BP oil disaster?
Moving on, the Congressional Budget Office reports that fully 70% of federal lands are already open to oil and gas exploration; even with new technology and oil discoveries, squeezing another 8 million barrels or so of oil per-day out of existing land leases is an almost impossible task, unless you’d like to see even more oil drilling near landmarks like Glacier National Park. To this end, the Romney plan calls for increasing reliance on Canada and Mexico, hardly an “energy independent” energy policy.
What’s more, Canada’s Nexen, Inc. is trying to buy CNOOC, a Chinese oil importer for around $15 billion. Essentially, Canada wants to sell its oil to China, rather than America. Things to the south aren’t any better, as Mexico’s drilling infrastructure is woefully out of date and production has been falling off of a cliff. As one of America’s biggest oil exporters, any lowering of output in Mexico means higher oil prices in America. That would mean that America’s #3 supplier, Saudi Arabia, would stand to fill the void. And that gets to the crux of the problem.
Freeing The Free Market…What’s To Stop Them Now?
Romney wants to give corporations even more control over America’s energy by regulating them and opening up access to even more federal lands. And for what? There is no obligation mentioned by Romney that the oil will half to be processed and sold in America, to Americans.
What is to stop any of these companies from selling oil to China or India if they can get more money? The U.S. is already exporting gasoline, but that hasn’t brought our fuel prices down because the simple economics of supply and demand. Without the threat of green, alternative fuels driving competition, the oil monopoly will have complete control over America’s energy resources at a time when even Mitt Romney admits petroleum resources are dwindling.
For a guy who has spent his entire life making money, Mitt Romney seems to have a hard time reconciling his plans for America with basic facts and data points. The complete lack of support for alternatives, and Romney’s failure to understand th uneven playing field Big Oil has created for itself, can only lead America down an ugly path.
While the rest of the world, including competitors like China, invest heavily in green energy technology, Romney would take our country backwards by focusing on the fuel of the last 100 years. Romney has said it himself; businesses that stay stagnant, that do not innovate, risk being surpassed by competitors.
Why does he think keeping America on the oil standard will be any different?