Quantcast

Mitt Romney’s Love Affair with the Fossil Fuel Industry

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on StumbleUponBuffer this page

Romney's energy plan is made by and for the fossil energy industryRepublican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s “new” energy plan, relies on 19th century fossil fuel technology. It is but the latest incarnation of a longstanding Republican obsession with oil and gas. Romney’s energy strategy is reliant on Canada’s environmentally disastrous tar sands. He wants to expedite the Keystone XL pipeline, reduce regulations on hydraulic fracturing and ease the permitting process for offshore oil and gas. Romney wants to take regulatory power away from the federal government and give it to individual states. He wants to amend the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act and weaken the EPA’s ability to regulate pollution.

While Romney is pushing for more oil and gas, his plan does not advocate either conservation or efficiency. Instead he would end subsidies for renewable sources of energy like solar and wind.

The Republican convention in Florida was delayed due to concerns about Hurricane Isaac. The timing of Isaac is ironic given that GOP appears oblivious to the relationship between global warming and extreme weather. They do not see the powerful symbolism of four hurricanes, Andrew, Katrina, Irene and now Isaac, all landing at roughly the same time and in the same place.

The Republican presidential hopeful’s support for fossil fuels ignores the overwhelming price of extreme weather. With a cost of $81 billion and 1,836 dead, Katrina was the most expensive natural disaster in American history. About 20 years ago this week, Hurricane Andrew hit Florida; it cost $25 billion and killed 15 people. Hurricane Irene struck one year ago and caused an estimated $15 billion in damage while killing at least 67 people.

Romney continues to push for more offshore oil despite the fact that Hurricane Isaac will likely stir up oil left over from the massive Gulf spill of 2010. The remnants of that spill take the form of large tar mats that lie submerged just off the coast.

It appears nothing will deter Romney from pursuing his wanton desire to increase America’s reliance on oil and gas. As reviewed in a Grist article by Lisa Hymas, Mitt Romney’s 21 page energy strategy mentions oil a total of 154 times and natural gas 36 times. The document references coal more often than solar or wind energy and efficiency only gets mentioned once. His plan completely ignores the smart grid, sustainability and climate change.

Romney claims his fossil fuel fixation will create jobs and he eschews government support for renewable energy. However, clean energy has been a great jobs creator, in many cases far more than the fossil fuel industry. In Iowa alone, 7,000 jobs have been created in the wind power industry. Thanks to the wind production tax credit (PTC), the wind industry now employs more people than the coal sector. The US solar energy industry currently employs 100,000 workers at 5,600 companies.

The Republican nominee wants to kill support for renewable energy while continuing to give oil companies $4 billion in annual subsidies. In addition, the Romney plan would provide a $2.3 billion tax cut for the big five oil companies through cuts in the corporate tax rate. Over the next 9 years, the U.S. coal industry is expected to receive $8 billion in taxpayer support.

Romney claims oil is more economical, but his plan does not factor the massive health care costs associated with the burning of fossil fuels. According to a Harvard Medical study, these costs amount to $345 billion. When health issues are factored into the equation the cost of coal per kilowatt is more than 3x the cost of wind.

Romney’s emphasis on oil and gas and resistance to support renewable energy should come as no surprise as his top advisors are closely affiliated with the fossil fuel industry. Harold Hamm is the founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Continental Resources Inc. (CLR). Hamm is one of the richest people in America and the chairman of Romney’s Energy Policy Advisory Group. Romney’s other advisors are also oil industry insiders. David Wilkins is a Canadian lobbyist for tar sands oil and Andrea Saul was formerly with the DCI Group, a public affairs and lobbying firm that has worked with Big Oil to undermine the facts on global warming.

At one time, Romney was a strong supporter of action on climate change. Now in his bid to be President, he is leading the climate deniers with a strategy that seems to invite climate change. Romney is a political opportunist who is depending on the oil and gas industry to help fund his campaign. According to the Center for Responsive PoliticsRomney has directly received more than $1 million from the oil and gas industry and the Koch brothers are expected to spend up to $200 million to help get their man elected.

Romney’s love of fossil fuel is at odds with the sentiments of most Americans. Americans hate the oil and gas industry and want global warming and clean energy to be national priorities. According to an August Gallup poll, a total of 61 percent of Americans gave the fossil fuel industry a negative rating, the worst of any industry in the U.S. Romney’s opposition to clean energy is also at odds with the views of the American public. A March Gallup poll had found that people were twice as likely to support solar and wind energy than coal or natural gas. The same poll found that 69 percent of Americans favored spending more government money on developing renewable energy.

As reviewed in a press release from the Sierra Club, greenhouse gas emissions are down to their lowest level in 20 years, Americans are using less oil, and new fuel standards will double efficiency and slash CO2. Over the last four years U.S. wind power has doubled and solar has grown by a factor of five. All of these advances would be reversed by Romney’s energy plan.

Romney’s intention to double down on oil and natural gas is a policy position that is incompatible with a 21st century economy. Romney’s resistance to renewable energy and support for fossil fuels is nothing short of reckless. His plan would result in the loss of tens of thousands of jobs in the clean energy industry and unleash pollutants that would harm Americans.

Romney’s energy strategy is a blueprint for increasing emissions and a roadmap for runaway climate change. America simply cannot afford a President who is so willfully ignorant on energy and the environment.

——————-

Richard Matthews is a consultant, eco-entrepreneur, green investor and author of numerous articles on sustainable positioning, eco-economics and enviro-politics. He is the owner of The Green Market Oracle, a leading sustainable business blog and one of the Web’s most comprehensive resources on the business of the environment. Find The Green Market on Facebook and follow The Green Market’s twitter feed.

Image credit: TerranceDC, courtesy Flickr

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on StumbleUponBuffer this page

Comments

  1. Another article filled with bias, hysteria, false assumptions based on hand picked data, theory masquerading as fact, and bad science. I used to live in Hawaii, a few feet above sea level. My yard had about 6 inches of soil and underneath that was….coral…a solid flat bed of coral that years ago survived just below the low tide level. What does that tell you. Well, it wasn’t elevated due to geologic upheaval since the geology of the region doesn’t support that. I tells you, at one point in time, that part of the island was at sea level and below. As the earth cooled and ice sheets grew, sea levels fell leaving a coral shelf. The earth is warming by some accounts but to say it is anthropogenic is like anthropomorphizing a pet. Psychologist say we do it to give us a sense of control. Control. Thats what it comes down to with the left. They want to control your every move, what you do, how you do it, how much you take home from work. Control…

    • A few leaps of logic there Gary. Not sure exactly what you’re responding to in terms of Richard’s post. Do you really think Richard sounds any more hysterical than your response? But thanks for the comment.

      Oh, and thanks for the geology lesson on the Hawaiian Islands. Again, I’m sure the point of it is clear in your head, but you’d be taken more seriously if you learn to articulate them better. Obviously this is little more than a partisan political issue for you and you’re just “mad at the left” for trying to “control your life.” Got it.

  2. Gary, I would be happy to debate any of the facts I have referenced in my article. As I see it, I have stated the obvious. To refute the notion that the earth is warming due to human activities is simply at odds with a huge body of evidence. That approach may have worked for a time as scientists carefully compiled data, however that argument is no longer tenable. NASA, the EPA, the Supreme Court and NOAA have all indicated that humans are warming the planet. Even the The American Meteorological Society (AMS) has accepted the science of anthropogenic climate change. You are on the wrong side of science and I would add the wrong side of history. I encourage you to inform yourself and then perhaps we can have an intelligent discussion.

  3. Bush/Cheney/Saudi/BinLadin Group undeclared corporation

    The Republican Party supports the coalition

    al Quida in Arabic translates to The Corporation

    Supposedly Bush and Cheney are enemy number one for al Quida.

    Not one soft target has EVER been attacked by al Quida.

    Definition of Corruption: “Illegal Allocation”

    Definition of Racketeering: “Group of people promoting Illegal Allocation”

    Definition of Treason: Any public representative or officer that promotes illegal allocation of national resources”

    The Republican Party as a whole promotes illegal allocation of national resources; they build the structure of corruption.

Leave a Reply