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Romney Energy Plan: Burn Everything for Big Oil Profits

I can think of only two logical explanations for Mitt Romney's reiteration of the GOP's Drill Baby Drill energy plan:

  1. He just got some big donations from Big Oil executives.
  2. He's a catastrophic millennialist: Jesus is coming, so why save fossil fuels for the grandkids? Burn, baby, burn!

Romney slipped when he announced his energy plan yesterday. He started to say "American energy..." then quickly corrected himself and emphasized "North American energy" (the NPR transcript simply elides the slip, but listen to the audio). Steve Sibson should be going ape over this NAFTA-globalism... but I have a feeling Sibby isn't going to help us point out the real problems with Romney's energy plan. So here goes:

First, Romney relies almost exclusively on increased production and use of fossil fuels. He expresses no concern for the pollution, disease, and other environmental externalities that will inevitably result. Far from it: he calls the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and other environmental regulations "outdated." Pollute more, regulate less: I can't make the Romney-GOP agenda any more clear and concise.

Second, Romney dismisses wind and solar as "failure[s]" and "fads." Hmm... wind and solar provided 15% of the European Union's electricity at the end of 2011, including 68% of the new electrical capacity in Europe last year. But Romney doesn't want us to be more like Europe... unless he's discussing nuclear plants, on which topic he touts France's construction of fifteen new nuclear power plants over the last three decades. Solar power use is growing exponentially. And we don't even need new technology: if we just stuck with our current wind and solar tech, we could meet 80% of America's electricity needs with renewable energy by 2050. The only failure here is Romney's failure of will; the only fad is oil, which greases Romney's palms now but will dry up long before the wind stops blowing and the sun stops shining.

Third, Romney does not mention conservation. He only mentions the word conservative once, as a paste-on and contradictory label for regulatory "reform" (odd: conservatives by definition prefer the status quo, not big changes), increasing production (the absolute opposite of conserving), and funding basic research (vague and not inherently conservative or liberal). American oil demand is trending flat for numerous reasons, not the least of which is sensible conservation. We could be energy judo masters (like France and China), winning independence with the energy we don't use. But apparently conservation and efficiency are not manly enough for Republicans, for whom the only route to greatness is to punch holes in everything.

Fourth, Romney hilariously thinks the Keystone XL pipeline will bring all that Canadian oil to our market. Keystone XL will take oil directly to the Gulf of Mexico and tankers waiting to haul it to China. Romney also pumps the long-refuted myth that Keystone XL will bring 100,000 new jobs.)

The only possible merit to Mitt Romney's plan is reform by catastrophism: we'll leave our kids in such a dire economic and environmental situation that they'll have to make large-scale renewable energy work... because we'll have burned up everything else.

North America is already headed for an energy surplus by 2030; any more oil that we produce is headed for the global market. Romney's energy plan isn't about promoting energy independence; it's about helping his Big Oil donors grab more cheap product and sell it on the global market for big profits.


  1. tonyamert 2012.08.24

    Just a couple of comments on energy independence. The 15% today and 80% by 2050 numbers are not real. That is the installed generation capacity. Not the actual amount of generation. Divide that number by 6 and you get approximately the real amount generated.

    Second, the numbers that are being cited are our electrical grid load only. This does not represent the amount of energy that is necessary to run our country. The true amount is VASTLY more.

    In my opinion, the only viable solution will be thorium reactors. Check out:

    For more.

  2. PrairieLady - Gayle 2012.08.24

    We all have seen this coming, just follow the money. News flash?....not so much.

  3. UnionCo 2012.08.24

    Even the lower estimated 5,000 or so job numbers are mostly likely still too high when one compares the XL with the first Keystone pipeline. During the interview with the Mayor of Stanton, NE, on KTIV, she said she was disappointed that she did not see the number of construction workers that she was led to believe would come through her city. A few workers had come to her town for meals, etc. The construction numbers weren't very high at Yankton either, and the number of permanent jobs from Yankton to Norfolk, NE, was estimated to be 10 to 12.

  4. Phyllis Cole-Dai 2012.08.25

    Thanks, Cory, for your short and not-so-sweet analysis of Romney's sad "blast from the past" energy policies. Not unexpected, but just plain terrible nevertheless. And not one mention of climate change or global warming and its implications for the country--even on the basis of national security, which is supposed to be a Republican strong point. Romney is no leader. He's a follower of Big Oil. Obama's environmental policies have been disappointing in many ways, but Romney's would be disastrous.

  5. Douglas Wiken 2012.08.25

    Matt McGovern and Matt Varilek were in Winner yesterday. South Dakota would be a much better place with them than with Kristi1 and Kristi2 still in office.

    At least they know something..

  6. Dougal 2012.08.25

    Romney is a bobble-head who obviously read a speech prepared by the greedy bastards of Big Oil and King Coal. This speech absolutely proved it.

    It's a Dick Cheney/Halliburton wet dream to have a presidential nominee this desperate to flip his position on the science of climate change and willingly become the captive of Wall Street and the Corporate Bosses. The choice for America is do you want to keep the Corporate Bosses who threw our nation into the Great Recession under control, or to you want a President who'll put you in shackles?

  7. grudznick 2012.10.06

    Kill kitties, cut trees, pump oil.

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