EDITOR’S NOTE: It’s pretty obvious who performed best
in the debate last night at the University of Denver. We won’t dwell on what the pundits have already said. We’re more interested in what President Obama and Governor Romney had to say about energy, and the feedback on that issue we’ve read. Here are two views that offer clear rebukes of what each candidate had to say on energy topics. One response takes issue with the President’s stance on oil and gas development, particularly on public lands; the other challenges Governor Romney’s claims about green energy and the current administration’s funding of it:
Addressing Energy Distortions in the Presidential Debate
Accuracy of Administration’s Role in Increased Oil and Natural Gas Production Questioned
(DENVER) – Western Energy Alliance was pleased to see the attention energy issues received in the Presidential debate, but calls on the media to thoroughly fact-check statements made by both candidates about the development of America’s abundant oil and natural gas resources.
“While America’s total oil and natural gas production has increased during President Obama’s term, on federal lands where he had the most control, production is down. America’s huge energy success story is in spite of, not because of the President’s policies. The real credit should go to private sector investment, technical innovation by industry, and pro-business state regulatory environments that encourage safe, responsible development. Mr. Obama has virtually no control over these factors and is distorting the truth when he implies otherwise,” noted Tim Wigley, President of Western Energy Alliance following tonight’s debate.
In the West, where the federal government owns more land than the states and private citizens do, federal restrictions disproportionately impact key oil and natural gas producing states. The economic and energy production bright spot in the West and main source of America’s increase in domestic oil production is North Dakota’s Bakken formation.
With the lowest unemployment rate in the country and $1.6 billion state budget surplus, North Dakota has become a model for local, state and federal policymakers should strive to replicate in other energy-rich areas throughout the U.S. The primary reason North Dakota has been so successful is that most of its oil production comes from state and private lands.
The Romney Energy Plan draws from the North Dakota model by empowering states with a greater role in conducting environmental review and issuing permits. Western Energy Alliance supports Romney’s efforts to re-open federal lands for energy production and inject some overdue common sense policy changes rooted in western principles. These policy changes would allow states with significant federal lands to emulate some of the economic and employment success already experienced in North Dakota.
Romney Gets the Energy Facts Wrong in Wednesday’s Debate
By Heather Taylor-Miesle, Director, NRDC Action Fund
The post-debate analysis is in full swing, and while pundits are talking about Governor Romney’s aggressive manner and President Obama’s subdued performance, the real story is how many times Romney strayed from the facts. On energy issues alone, he not only distorted the truth but he also misrepresented his own positions.
It began when Romney said he supported clean energy. This passing remark came after he spoke at length about expanding oil and gas drilling and building the Keystone XL pipeline for dirty tar sands oil. It also came after he let us know: “I like coal.”
I am not surprised Romney paid lip service to clean energy. Nine out of 10 Americans say developing renewable energy should be a priority for the president and Congress, and that includes 85 percent of Republicans and 89 percent of Independents. And two thirds of Americans want to extend tax incentives for clean energy.
But Romney’s own positions would thwart the rapidly growing clean energy economy and the tens of thousands of jobs it creating. He wants to kill incentives for wind power–incentives that enjoy strong bipartisan support, perhaps because more than 80 percent of installed wind power comes from Republican-majority states. And his economic plan calls for cutting clean energy investments by 90 percent, down to just $1 billion in 2014.
Romney repeatedly criticized Obama for his clean energy incentives. But once again, his facts were wildly off base. He cited the $90 billion the Obama administration invested in renewable energy projects, energy efficiency measures for homeowners, public transit, and other stimulus projects, and tried to claim that clean energy received more government help than fossil fuels. MORE …