Friday, September 30, 2011

Newt Gingrich's new Contract With America on Energy

Newt Gingrich released his 21st Century Contract with America this week, complete with an entire section on energy. Learn about the former House Speaker and 2012 presidential candidate's plan for America's energy future below:

Unleash America’s full energy production potential in oil, natural gas, coal, biofuels, wind, nuclear oil shale and more, creating jobs, stimulating a sustainable manufacturing boom, lowering gasoline and other energy prices, increasing government revenues, strengthening the dollar, and bolstering national security.
The United States has more energy resources than any other country in the world – more than Russia, Saudi Arabia, Canada, or Brazil. Expanding the development of these resources could create up to 1.1 million new jobs and deliver $127 billion in new government revenues by 2020, according to a recent Wood Mackenzie study. With the right regulatory policies, the United States could be the largest oil producer in the world by 2017.
Yet we pay nearly $4 per gallon for gasoline and continue to import nearly half of our oil from foreign countries, many of which have governments hostile to the United States.
Meanwhile, millions of Americans in energy-rich regions of the country remain unemployed.
It is time to harness the immense natural energy resources our country has, get Americans back to work, and lower gas, diesel, and other energy prices for every American.
My administration will pursue an “all of the above” American Energy Policy that allows expanded development of oil, natural gas, coal, biofuels, wind, and nuclear sources of energy. 
An effective pro-American energy bill will lead to a boom in American jobs, a dramatic increase in the value of the dollar as we spend less on energy from overseas, and more revenue for state and federal government from royalties and increased economic activity.
As President, I will immediately reset our energy policy by removing bureaucratic and legal obstacles to responsible oil and natural gas development in the United States. 
This means development of offshore oil and natural gas resources in places currently blocked by the federal government, such as the Atlantic and Pacific Outer Continental Shelves and the eastern Gulf of Mexico.
It also means ending the restrictions on oil shale development in the western U.S., where we potentially have three times more oil than Saudi Arabia. Unleash America’s full energy production potential in oil, natural gas, coal, biofuels, wind, nuclear oil shale and more, creating jobs, stimulating a sustainable manufacturing boom, lowering gasoline and other energy prices, increasing government revenues, strengthening the dollar, and bolstering national security.
The United States has more energy resources than any other country in the world – more than Russia, Saudi Arabia, Canada, or Brazil. Expanding the development of these resources could create up to 1.1 million new jobs and deliver $127 billion in new government revenues by 2020, according to a recent Wood Mackenzie study. With the right regulatory policies, the United States could be the largest oil producer in the world by 2017. 
Yet we pay nearly $4 per gallon for gasoline and continue to import nearly half of our oil from foreign countries, many of which have governments hostile to the United States.
Meanwhile, millions of Americans in energy-rich regions of the country remain unemployed.
It is time to harness the immense natural energy resources our country has, get American back to work, and lower gas, diesel, and other energy prices for every American. 
My administration will pursue an “all of the above” American Energy Policy that allows expanded development of oil, natural gas, coal, biofuels, wind, and nuclear sources of energy.
An effective pro-American energy bill will lead to a boom in American jobs, a dramatic increase in the value of the dollar as we spend less on energy from overseas, and more revenue for state and federal government from royalties and increased economic activity.
As President, I will immediately reset our energy policy by removing bureaucratic and legal obstacles to responsible oil and natural gas development in the United States. 
This means development of offshore oil and natural gas resources in places currently blocked by the federal government, such as the Atlantic and Pacific Outer Continental Shelves and the eastern Gulf of Mexico. 
It also means ending the restrictions on oil shale development in the western U.S., where we potentially have three times more oil than Saudi Arabia. 
Under this plan, coastal states will receive a share of the royalty revenues the federal government takes in – a benefit that states that drill on land already enjoy -- to give them an incentive to allow offshore development.
This plan will also ensure that federal agencies get out of the way in places where drilling is already allowed.
For example, even though companies have been cleared to drill in the western Gulf of Mexico for months, the Department of Interior has dragged its feet on reissuing permits – and Gulf Coast economies continue to languish. 
Through citizen action, we can liberate America’s energy resources. For example, in the spring of 2008, as gas prices were surging towards four dollars a gallon, a citizen-led petition called Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less called upon Congress to immediately address the energy crisis.
One and a half million signatures later, Congress voted to end its 25-year ban on offshore drilling. By the end of 2008, gas prices has plummeted to under $2 dollars a gallon.
A pro-American energy plan must also recognize the enormous natural gas potential in the United States, especially the development of vast shale gas resources across the country. America is a world leader in responsible shale gas production, and we must continue to promote this form of safe domestic energy production that is creating jobs and strengthening our economy, from Pennsylvania to Texas to Colorado.
This also means maintaining the strong and effective regulation of hydraulic fracturing at the state level and ending the federal government’s attempts to clamp down on this vital technology that has been used safely for more than 60 years.
We must also replace the EPA, which pursues an anti-jobs agenda the economy simply cannot sustain. A pro-growth Environmental Solutions Agency in its place will operate on the premise that most environmental problems can and should be solved by states and local communities. Rather than emphasizing centralization and regulation, it would emphasize coordination with states and local communities, the sharing of best practices, and focus on incentives for new solutions, research and technologies.
The imperative to unleash American energy is not just economic. It is also a basic question of national security. The more energy we can produce here, the less dependent we are on foreign countries, many of whom have interests hostile to our own. At the same time, we must strengthen our relationships with close allies that have vast natural resources, such as Canada. For example, we must immediately authorize the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which will bring 700,000 barrels of oil a day from Western Canada, Montana, Oklahoma, and the Dakotas to Gulf Coast refineries in Texas, reducing our dependence on Latin America and the Middle East and creating tens of thousands of new jobs.
I look forward to learning more about your ideas and solutions for a bill that will end our man-made energy crisis, and pursuing solutions that will create jobs, bring in more revenue, and lower prices for all Americans.
We have done this before, and we can do it again.

Chris Christie: Climate change is real (Video)

New Jersey’s Republican Governor Chris Christie is said to be seriously considering running for president, so where does he stand on climate change? For the answer, let’s take a look back at Christie’s May 26, 2011 speech announcing his state’s withdrawal from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI):
Morning everybody. Thank you for coming. First, a couple of preliminary things. In the past I’ve always said that climate change is real and it’s impacting our state. There’s undeniable data that CO2 levels and other greenhouse gases in our atmosphere are increasing. This decade average temperatures have been rising, temperature changes are affecting weather patterns and our climate. In order to best deal with climate change we have to understand its causes. That was the root of the question that I was asking at the time of my town hall meetings and it’s gotten a lot of attention. So in the last number of months since that time I’ve taken some time to develop a better understanding of the role that humans play in global warming and what impact human activity has on our climate. The last few months I’ve sat down with experts both inside the government and outside the administration in academia and other places, to discuss the issue in depth. I’ve also done some reading on my own on the topic as well. I’m certainly not a scientist which is the first problem. 
So, I can’t claim to fully understand all of this. Certainly not after just a few months of study. But when you have over 90% of the world’s scientists who have studied this stating that climate change is occurring and that humans play a contributing role it’s time to defer to the experts. Climate science is complex though and we’re just beginning to have a fuller understanding of humans’ role in all of this. But we know enough to know that we are at least a part of the problem. So looking forward, we need to work to put policies in place that act at reducing those contributing factors.
Now, after extensive review with the DEP and others in my administration, our analysis of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative or RGGI reveals that this program is not effective in reducing greenhouse gases and is unlikely to be in the future.
First, RGGI allowances were never expensive enough to change behavior as they were intended to and ultimately fuel different choices. When RGGI began the industry projected that the cost of allowances would eventually be as high as twenty to thirty dollars a ton compared to the current price of less than $2 per ton, at which point the cost would have been sufficient to affect a decision of energy producers to choose lower carbon fuels or more efficient production technologies. This is not the case. It has not happened. Trends indicate the cost of the allowance will continue to be at the floor reserve price and there will be no significant secondary market for allowances. In other words, the whole system is not working as it was intended to work. It’s a failure. 
Second, New Jersey’s carbon emissions from a report the DEP will release today are already below the goals for 2020 set out in New Jersey’s Global Warming Response Act, the legislation that permitted the state to participate in RGGI. According to this most recent report which was conducted before RGGI was implemented, greenhouse gas emissions are down in New Jersey. Reduced emissions have been due to increased use of natural gas, and the decreased use of coal. We’re seeing that the market and not RGGI has created incentives to reduce the use of carbon-based fuels.
Third, given that we now have laws that provide significant market incentives for wind, solar, and instate natural gas generation, any benefits that the RGGI tax may have had are miniscule. In fact fourteen laws have been passed since the Global Warming Response Act was passed authorizing us to join RGGI. These fourteen laws all accomplish the goals of promoting clean energy without the need to participate in RGGI at all. RGGI has not changed behavior and it does not reduce emissions. We’re looking for broader results that benefit all ratepayers and all citizens.
Finally and importantly, RGGI does nothing more than tax electricity, tax our citizens, tax our businesses, with no discernable or measurable impact upon our environment. Because states such as Pennsylvania are not RGGI members it’s just possible that by making the cap too stringent clean New Jersey plants would be forced to close only to be replaced by power from dirty Pennsylvania coal plants. It doesn’t make any sense environmentally or economically and the continuation of this tax makes no sense for my efforts and the Lieutenant Governor’s continued efforts to make New Jersey a more business-friendly environment and a place where private sector jobs can continue to be created.
So, we will withdraw from RGGI in an orderly fashion by year’s end. This also corresponds with the end of the first compliance period when compliance entities must true up, match their allowances to their emissions. By giving them this notice we are confident that the market and the participants will be able to adjust to our withdrawal from RGGI.
So, to be clear, our commitment continues to combating climate change and looking for new clean and cleaner energy sources for New Jersey. We’re committed to putting in place policies that actively work to decrease greenhouse gas emissions and achieve the 22 ½% renewable portfolio standard target by 2021. The future for New Jersey is in green energy and already we’ve put in place policies to broaden our access to renewable sources of energy, cleaner natural gas generation and ending our reliance on coal generation.
Let me start there. One of the things that I’m announcing today is that there will be no new coal permitted in New Jersey. From this day forward any plans that anyone has regarding any type of coal-based generation of energy in New Jersey is over. We know that coal is a major source of CO2 emissions. We will no longer accept coal as a new source of power in the state and we will work to shut down older dirtier, peaker and intermediate plants that emit high greenhouse gases. We need to commit in New Jersey to making coal a part of our past. We’re going to work to make New Jersey number one in offshore wind production. Last year I signed the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act to provide financial assistance and tax credits to businesses that construct, manufacture, and assemble water access facilities that support offshore wind products. The DEP has completed the first of its kind, two-year baseline study that identifies optimal sites for offshore wind turbines. This study combined with the strong policies I’ve spoken about is going to be instrumental and has been instrumental at the Department of the Interior recognizing New Jersey in its Smart from the Start program as a wind energy area. That provides us the opportunity for expedited federal permitting in this area, and we’re going to try to take advantage of it. We’ve joined with the federal government and other East Coast states to establish the Atlantic Offshore Wind Energy Consortium to promote commercial wind development on the outer continental shelf. And we’ve accelerated the development of offshore wind projects by working closely with Interior and the Bureau of Energy Management Regulation and Enforcement to speed the implementation of 1100 MW of wind turbines. Since the call for interest last month we will be receiving applications for more than 3,000 MW of projects within the next two weeks.
So the interest in New Jersey in wind power is significant, because of the laws that this administration has helped to put into place and we are going to continue to pursue that.
Second, we are going to go further with solar energy. Last year, I signed legislation exempting solar projects from certain land uses restrictions, recognizing that solar energy development is an important land use that is protective of our environment. Currently, 9000 solar- voltaic projects totaling 330 megawatts are in use statewide as of April 30th of this year. We are focusing on expanding solar on brown fields and landfills. We talked about this during the campaign, we believe that we can re- duel environmental and economic benefits by promoting remediation
We’re focusing on expanding solar on ground fields and landfills, we talked about this during the campaign, We believe we can reap dual environmental and economic benefits by promoting remediation of sites otherwise lacking in value, and returning them to beneficial use. Specifically, the Meadowlands Commission has now re-zoned portions of the closed landfill sites in the Meadowlands for use as solar fields. This is exactly the type of thing we talked about in the campaign, and I’m happy that the Meadowlands Commission has moved forward with the re-zoning and now we can work towards increasing solar energy in the Meadowlands. Solar is increasing, as you know, in both the residential and commercial sectors, and that trend is likely to continue with the reduction in solar installation costs and the expectation of continued technological advancements in solar.
Next, we’re encouraging in-state energy generation, which is cleaner. We joined the legislature in a bi-partisan fashion to create the LCAPP program to encourage the construction of natural gas power plants within New Jersey dedicated to serving New Jersey customers. This program will bring new generation into the state and safeguard electric reliability and reduce New Jersey’s dependence on environmentally harmful coal resources for both inside and outside of our state. This is going to provide a mechanism for up to 2,000 new megawatts of generation. Awards were given to three strategically located natural gas projects, we’ve appealed the FERC ruling that says that we can’t move forward with this, and separately, the BPU is proceeding to expand our in-state natural gas generation on their own. 78% of New Jersey’s electric resources come from in-state sources and more than half of our electricity is carbon-free, coming from either nuclear or renewable sources. Part of our long term plan will look to see whether additional nuclear units in the state make sense as well. The 22% of electricity we do import accounts for 50% of New Jersey’s carbon emissions, which is why our focus is on home-grown generation and going after power plants that are outside of New Jersey and polluting our state, like the Pennsylvania coal-firing plants we’re battling under section 126, for the Cortland, Pennsylvania plant, and in court, for 4 western Pennsylvania plants, which are polluting the environment here in New Jersey. 
Lastly, it’s this administration’s belief that the cleanest energy is the energy that we don’t use, and the State has to lead in terms of conservation. And so we’re going to lead by example on energy efficiency and I have established today a State Energy Savings Initiative Oversight Committee which will be chaired by the Treasurer and by Commissioner Martin. And they’re going to design a framework for a successful program that will take the New Jersey Energy Savings Improvement Programs Act, which enables the state to improve facilities, thereby lowering operating costs without upfront capital costs. The cost savings of the energy improvement measures will pay for the Capitol improvements and provide additional savings to the state in terms of lower utility bills, and just as important, reduce the state’s use of energy, and reduce the effect that the use of that energy has on our environment.
But we see that this is happening already on a large scale at the Empire State Building. They began renovations last summer, expected to reduce their energy use by 38% a year by 2013 and an annual savings of $4.4 million dollars. By reducing energy use, the Retrofit Plan envisions cutting down the pollution the Empire State Building produces by 105,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions a year. New Jersey is going to strive to bring the same type of energy efficiencies to our public buildings through this oversight committee that we’re establishing and the utilization of existing legislation and statutes in the state.
So, we remain completely committed to the idea that we have as a responsibility as a state to make the environment of our state and of the world better. We have an obligation to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, and we’re going to do it in the concrete ways that I’ve laid out here today. We’re not going to do it by participating in gimmicky programs that haven’t worked. And, you know, in the end, our view is it’s better to do things the right way than to do things the politically correct way. The fact is, we’ve looked at this program, we’ve spent 16 months looking at it, and it simply doesn’t work. And we’re not going to participate anymore in something that doesn’t work, but that is not abandonment of our commitment to continue to work towards more renewable energy and, for those energies that are not renewable, the cleanest possible energy we can use, including natural gas and nuclear. So, I want to thank both Commissioner Martin and BPU President Solomon for their hard work on this portion of the issue. We’ll have more to say in the next week or two regarding the overall Energy Master Plan, which we’ll be announcing and putting even more specifics on the outline that I gave to you here. But New Jersey continues to be committed to being a responsible user of energy and a responsible steward of our environment, and we’re going to do it in the way we think the facts prove can be done the best way. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Barack Obama vs Rick Perry on climate change

President Barack Obama took Texas Governor and Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry to task for his views on climate change while addressing supporters at a fundraiser in San Jose, California this weekend.

"... you've got a governor whose state is on fire denying climate change," Obama said, referring to the Texas wildfires that have burned almost 3.8 million acres and destroyed 2,742 homes.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Barack Obama talks climate change, energy efficiency at Clinton Global Initiative

President Barack Obama talked about energy efficiency and climate change in a speech delivered at the Clinton Global Initiative on September 21, 2011 in New York City.

“He also is one of those Americans who believes climate change is real and deserves a real response,” former President Bill Clinton said while introducing Obama.

“It is technically difficult to figure out how we are going to deal with climate change -- not impossible, but difficult,” President Obama noted in his speech.

The President went on to discuss two ways to curb global warming pollution by saving energy and fuel:
We talk about climate change -- something that, obviously, people here are deeply concerned about.  Talking to the CEO of Southwest Airlines, they estimate that if we put in the new generation of GPS air traffic control, we would save 15 percent in fuel costs.  “Reduce fuel consumption by 15 percent, Mr. President.”  And think about what that would do, not only to potentially lower the cost of a ticket -- maybe they could start giving out peanuts again. But think what it would do in terms of taking those pollutants out of our air. 
Earlier this year, I announced a Better Buildings Initiative to rehire construction workers to make our buildings more energy-efficient.  And I asked President Clinton and my Jobs Council to challenge private companies to join us.  In June, at CGI America, we announced a commitment to upgrade 300 million square feet of space, from military housing to college campuses.  Some of these projects are breaking ground this month, putting people to work right now.  Later this year, we’ll announce more commitments that will create jobs, while saving billions for businesses on energy bills and cutting down on our pollution. 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Herman Cain on the EPA

Businessman and Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain called for the elimination of the Environmental Protection Agency at the Google/Fox News debate, which took place in Orlando, Florida on September 22, 2011.

Question: My question is, if you were forced to eliminate one department from the federal government, which one would you eliminate and why? Thank you.
Herman Cain: The first - the first department, if I were forced to eliminate a department, I would start with the EPA and start all over.
It's out of control.
Now, I know that makes some people nervous, but the EPA has gone wild. The fact that they have a regulation that goes into effect January 1, 2012, to regulate dust says that they've gone too far.
So rather than try to fix it, eliminate all of the things that they have right now and then start rebuilding a responsible EPA.

In advance of the Google/Fox News debate, the League of Conservation Voters released a new public opinion poll demonstrating strong bipartisan support for EPA action to curb global warming pollution:
Support for "the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requiring reductions in carbon emissions from sources like power plants, cars and factories in an effort to reduce global warming pollution" is wide-spread and broad-based.  Majorities of a wide range of key voter sub-groups support this, including:
Among Republicans (55 percent support), Independents (72 percent support), and Democrats (89 percent support); and
Among viewers of CNN (87 percent support), MSNBC (86 percent support), ABC/CBS/NBC (81 percent support), and Fox News (49 percent support).

Fox News also asked viewers at home to respond to the question, “If you had to cut a government department, what would you cut?” Only 12 percent of viewers said they would cut the EPA. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Jon Huntsman on natural gas subsidies at the Google Fox News Debate (Video)

Former Utah Governor and 2012 Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman fielded a question about subsidies for natural gas during the September 23, 2011 Google Fox News Debate in Orlando, Florida.

Here's what he had to say:

Chris Wallace, Fox News: Governor Huntsman, in Utah, you offered millions of dollars in tax credits to promote clean energy. In June you said that as president you would subsidize natural gas companies. How is that different from the Obama administration, which gave the solar panel company Solyndra a half-a-billion dollars in federal loan guarantees, and as we all know, that company ended up bankrupt, and we taxpayers ended up on the hook?
Jon Huntsman: Chris, first of all, it's an honor to be here in Orlando, home of my wife, the greatest human being I've known in 28 years. 
We've learned some important lessons as this economy has spun out of control. We have some hard decisions to make. And we're not going to fix the problem. We're not going to be able to bring our people together in America until we fix the economy.
I'm convinced that part of the divide that we're experiencing in the United States, which is unprecedented, it's unnatural, and it's un-American, is because we're divided economically, too few jobs, too few opportunities.
We have learned that subsidies don't work and that we can no longer afford them. I believe that we can move toward renewable energy, but we're going to have to have a bridge product. Everybody wants to draw from the sun and draw from the wind, and I'm here to tell you that eventually that will make sense, but today the economics don't work.
We need something like natural gas. I've put forward an energy independence program, along with tax reform and regulatory reform. Just by drawing from natural gas, for example, you're looking at 500,000 to 1 million jobs over the next five years. It is ours, it's affordable, it has important national security implications, and we should begin the conversion process.
Wallace: But just a 30-second follow-up, sir. In June, you told the New Hampshire Union Leader as president you would subsidies the natural gas industry.
Huntsman: I would be willing to begin an effort, so long as there was a rapid phase-out. I do not like subsidies. I do not like long-term subsidies. But if there was some sort of way to get the ball rolling with a - with a - with a quick phase-out, I would be in favor of that.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Ovide Lamontagne on climate change, energy policy

The 2012 New Hampshire Governor’s race got off to an early start this week, with Republican Ovide Lamontagne announcing that he will seek to replace the retiring John Lynch in next year’s election. Where does Lamontagne stand on energy and climate change?

It turns out Ovide Lamontagne answered that very question during his 2010 campaign for U.S. Senate, in response to a questionnaire circulated by the Raymond Area Tea Party:

What is your solution to the energy crisis?
Our energy crisis is also a national security crisis, in that we depend far too much on foreign sources of oil. We need to fully develop and explore all of our domestic energyresources including coal, natural gas and nuclear energy. I also support drilling in ANWR, and believe we need to increase our oil refining capacity.
Do you believe it is the responsibility of the federal government to stop global warming?
No, I have signed the Americans for Prosperity “No Climate Tax” pledge and will oppose any legislation regarding climate change that includes a net increase in government revenue.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Jon Huntsman talks wind, solar in New Hampshire

Jon Huntsman shared his thoughts on wind and solar power yesterday, while appearing as a guest on WGIR New Hampshire News Radio. Huntsman's comments apparently came in response to question posed by host Paul Wescott and were focused on Solyndra, the now bankrupt solar company that received federal stimulus funds back in 2009.

Here's what Huntsman had to say:
It’s another example of where subsidies just don’t work. 
Technology is going to take us forward at the pace of the free market. I have every confidence that 20-25 years from now we’re going to be drawing a whole lot more from the wind and from the sun. I think that’s inevitable.
The technology has to take us there. You can’t force that with subsidies.
And all the while, we’ve got to rely increasingly on fuels we have in great abundance in this country. We need a bridge from where we find ourselves to the future 25 years from now.
I think one the fundamental problems we’ve made in recent years is we’re trying to force technologies before their ready. We’re trying to force them into the marketplace before the economics actually work.
Everyone’s excited about moving into a new clean, environmentally friendly phase when it comes to energy and power generation. We have to realize the technology has to be there and the cost conversion has to be there from an economic standpoint and we’re not there yet.
So a sad chapter where subsidies have been thrown after technologies not yet ready for the marketplace and we see the result. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Al Gore's words of respect for Jon Huntsman

Former Vice President Al Gore shared his thoughts on GOP presidential candidates Jon Huntsman and Rick Perry yesterday, while appearing as a guest on NPR’s Talk of the Nation.

Al Gore on Jon Huntsman:

Well, but let me pile on, by saying words of respect about Jon Huntsman's willingness to take big risks in the Republican primary by saying that he believes that the climate scientists are telling the truth. You know, the deniers have accused them of all kinds of things. And it's interesting, you know, 97 to 98 percent of all the climate scientists in the world, who most actively publish in that field, are in agreement on this. Every national academy of science of every major country in the world is in agreement. 
The national academies are calling on government leaders to urgently act. Every professional scientific society in every field related to the study of climate agrees with the consensus view. So do you believe them, or do you believe the Koch brothers and Exxon Mobil and Rush Limbaugh. It - that's an easy choice for me. For some, evidently, it's not. And eventually, reality has its day.

Al Gore on Rick Perry:

Ken Rudin, NPR: Mr. Vice President, you could make headlines right now by saying something really positive about the guy who helped - worked on your campaign in 1988, Rick Perry. What do you think of Rick Perry?
Gore: Well, as I told Stephen Colbert last night when he asked that question, it would probably hurt him in the Republican primary if I said good things... 
...about him. I do remember him, and I appreciated his support back at the time, when he was a Democrat. I don't know what's happened to him since. He'll have to explain that. But I appreciated his support at the time.

Monday, September 12, 2011

2011 CNN Tea Party GOP Debate: Energy Roundup

Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Jon Huntsman and Mitt Romney all sounded off on energy issues during the September 12, 2011 CNN Tea Party Republican Presidential Debate in Tampa, Florida.

Herman Cain on the EPA

Question: The United States has an abundance of coal, oil, natural gas and uranium. The American people have been told for decades that energy independence is a top priority. What will you do in your first 100 days in office to assure the American people that energy independence will finally become reality.
Herman Cain: The first thing that I would do in order to assure that we get on the road to energy independence, and I do believe that we can because we do have the natural resources to do so, we've got to remove some of those barriers out of the way that are being created by the federal government. I would start with an EPA that's gone wild. That's where we start.

I would put together a regulatory reduction commission for every agency starting with the EPA. This regulatory reduction commission -- one of my guiding principles is if you want to solve a problem go to the source closest to the problem. So the people that I would appoint to that commission will be people who have been abused by the EPA. That would be the commission that would straighten out the regulatory burden.

Newt Gingrich on tax breaks for oil companies

Wolf Bitzer: Speaker Gingrich, some of the biggest companies in the United States, the oil companies, they got -- I guess some would call government handouts in the form of tax breaks, tax exemptions, loopholes. They're making billions and billions of dollars. Is that fair? 

Newt Gingrich: You know, I thought for a second, you were going to refer to General Electric, which has paid no taxes.
You know, I… I was… I was astonished the other night to have the president there in the joint session with the head of G.E. sitting up there and the president talking about taking care of loopholes. And I thought to myself, doesn't he realize that every green tax credit is a loophole...

... that everything he wants… everything General Electric is doing is a loophole? Now, why did we get to breaks for ethanol, breaks for oil and gas, et cetera? We got to them because of this idea, which the young man just represented. If we make you… if we make it possible for you to keep more of your own money, you will do more of it. 

We have a simple choice. We can depend on Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Venezuela, or we can encourage development in the United States of manufacturing, as Rick said. We can encourage development of oil and gas. We can do it by saying we're going to let you keep more of your money if you create more of what we want. I'm for an energy- independent America, and that means I favor people who create energy.

Ron Paul on the DOE:

What we need to do is cut the Department of Education, the Department of Energy, and all these departments, and get rid of them.

Jon Huntsman on energy independence:

... this country needs to wean itself from its heroin-like addiction to foreign oil. We need energy independence desperately in this country.

Mitt Romney on energy security

We're an energy rich nation. We're living like an energy poor nation.
And if we're going to get this economy going, we've got to… have energy security in this country by developing our energy resources.

Visit for rush transcripts of tonight's debate:

Michele Bachmann on climate change and green jobs

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann revisited the issue of climate change while answering a question about her comments on drilling in the Everglades during the September 7, 2011 GOP Presidential Debate. The debate was hosted by MSNBC and Politico at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California.
Brian Williams, NBC News: Congresswoman Bachmann, a question about energy, back to that subject for a moment. Were you quoted correctly… and do you stand by it… as wanting to drill in the Everglades in Florida?
Michele Bachmann: The question was asked of me about that. And what I said is we have American energy resources all across this nation. And, of course, we would do it responsibly. That was my response at the time.
And on this issue on human… human activity as being the cause of climate change, I think it's important to note that the president recognized how devastating the EPA has been in their rulemaking, so much so that the president had to suspend current EPA rules that would have led to the shutting down of potentially 20 percent of all of America's coal plants.
Coal is the source that brings 45 percent of America's electricity. What we're seeing is that a political agenda is being advanced instead of a scientific agenda. And this is leading to the… to massive numbers of jobs being lost.
The president told us he wanted to be like Spain when it came to green job creation, and yet Spain has one of the highest levels of unemployment. The president is bringing that here in the United States. And I think tomorrow night, when the nation tunes in to the president, I'm afraid that we won't be seeing permanent solution. I'm afraid what we'll be seeing are temporary gimmicks and more of the same that he's given before.

Photo of Michele Bachmann courtesy of Gage Skidmore

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Rick Perry: Science not settled on global warming

At the September 7, 2011 Republican Presidential Debate, Texas Governor Rick Perry was asked to identify specific scientists or theories he found credible on climate change. Here's how Perry responded:

John Harris, Politico: Governor Perry, Governor Huntsman were not specific about names, but the two of you do have a difference of opinion about climate change. Just recently in New Hampshire, you said that weekly and even daily scientists are coming forward to question the idea that human activity is behind climate change. Which scientists have you found most credible on this subject?
Rick Perry: Well, I do agree that there is ... the science is... is not settled on this. The idea that we would put Americans' economy at ... at ... at jeopardy based on scientific theory that's not settled yet, to me, is just ... is nonsense. I mean, it ... I mean ... and I tell somebody, I said, just because you have a group of scientists that have stood up and said here is the fact, Galileo got outvoted for a spell.
But the fact is, to put America's economic future in jeopardy, asking us to cut back in areas that would have monstrous economic impact on this country is not good economics and I will suggest to you is not necessarily good science. Find out what the science truly is before you start putting the American economy in jeopardy.
John Harris: Just to follow up quickly. Tell us how you've done that. Are there specific... specific scientists or specific theories that you've found especially compelling, as you...
Rick Perry: Let me tell you what I find compelling, is what we've done in the state of Texas, using our ability to regulate our clean air. We cleaned up our air in the state of Texas, more than any other state in the nation during the decade. Nitrous oxide levels, down by 57 percent. Ozone levels down by 27 percent.
That's the way you need to do it, not by some scientist somewhere saying, "Here is what we think is happening out there." The fact of the matter is, the science is not settled on whether or not the climate change is being impacted by man to the point where we're going to put America's economics in jeopardy.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Jon Huntsman: GOP can't run from science

The science of climate change was a topic of debate at the September 7, 2011 Republican Presidential Debate held at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. Jon Huntsman, the former Governor of Utah and U.S.  Ambassador to China, told fellow Republicans that “we can’t run from science” and win in 2012.

John Harris, Politico: You yourself have said the party is in danger of becoming anti- science. Who on this stage is anti-science?
Jon Huntsman: Listen, when you make comments that fly in the face of what 98 out of 100 climate scientists have said, when you call into question the science of evolution, all I'm saying is that, in order for the Republican Party to win, we can't run from science. We can't run from mainstream conservative philosophy. We've got to win voters.
We've got to do what I did as governor, when I was re-elected. We reached out and we brought in independents. I got independents. I got conservative Democrats. If we're going to win in 2012, we've got to make sure that we have somebody who can win based upon numbers of the math that will get us there. And by making comments that basically don't reflect the reality of the situation, we turn people off.
Number two, we've got to have somebody who can lead. This president was successful in getting elected. He can't lead this country. He can't even lead his own party.
I'm here to tell you: I can get elected. I can bring the numbers together to make this successful in 2012. And I can lead based upon where I've been as governor.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Americans Jobs Act: Billions for green schools

President Barack Obama’s new jobs bill may not be called the American Green Jobs Act, but it does include a $30 billion proposal for modernizing schools. According to a White House Fact Sheet on the American Jobs Act:
The President is proposing a $25 billion investment in school infrastructure that will modernize at least 35,000 public schools – investments that will create jobs, while improving classrooms and upgrading our schools to meet 21st century needs. This includes a priority for rural schools and dedicated funding for Bureau of Indian Education funded schools. Funds could be used for a range of emergency repair and renovation projects, greening and energy efficiency upgrades, asbestos abatement and removal, and modernization efforts to build new science and computer labs and to upgrade technology in our schools. The President is also proposing a $5 billion investment in modernizing community colleges (including tribal colleges), bolstering their infrastructure in this time of need while ensuring their ability to serve future generations of students and communities.
Video of President Obama's jobs speech:

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Mitt Romney Job Plan & Climate Change

In his new jobs plan, Mitt Romney takes a hard line on climate change, promising to “amend Clean Air Act to exclude regulation of Carbon.”

And that’s just page one of the section on Energy Policy.

Read Mitt Romney’s jobs plan in its entirety, available for free on Amazon:

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Sarah Palin: Solar panels a harebrained idea

Sarah Palin may have stopped short of declaring her candidacy for president during her 2011 Labor Day weekend tour of Iowa and New Hampshire, but she did have plenty to say about energy policy. 

On Monday, Sarah Palin called for an “all of the above approach to energy independence” at a Tea Party Express Rally in Manchester, NH:

We need an agenda that allows robust domestic energy production, a true all of the above approach to energy independence.
And a robust aggressive energy independent agenda – that’s a real jobs plan. And that’s the real stimulus we’ve been waiting for. And that doesn’t cost government a cent.

But just two days before, Palin was busy calling solar panels a “hairbrained idea” at a Tea Party of America Rally in Indianola, IA:

He (Barack Obama) wants to “Win The Future” by “investing” more of your hard-earned money in some harebrained ideas like more solar panels and really fast trains. These are things that venture capitalists will tell you are non-starters, yet he wants to do more of them. We’re flat broke, but he thinks these solar panels and really fast trains are going to magically save us. He’s shouting “all aboard Obama’s bullet train to bankruptcy.”
The only future that Barack Obama is trying to win is his own re-election, and he has shown that he’s perfectly willing to mortgage our children’s future to pay for it. And there is proof of this. Just look closely at where all that “green energy” stimulus money is “invested.” See a pattern. The President’s big campaign donors got nice returns for their “investments” in him to the tune of billions of your tax dollars in the form of “green energy” stimulus funds. The technical term for this is “pay-to-play.” Between bailouts for Wall Street cronies and stimulus projects for union bosses’ security and “green energy” giveaways, he took care of his friends. And now they’re on course to raise a billion dollars for his re-election bid so that they can do it all over again. Are you going to let them do it all over again? Are you willing to unite to do all we can to not let them do it again so we can save our country? 
… it is time for America to become the energy superpower. The real stimulus that we’ve been waiting for is robust and responsible domestic energy production. We have the resources. Affordable and secure energy is the key to any thriving economy, and it must be our foundation. So, I would do the opposite of Obama’s manipulation of U.S. supplies of energy. Drill here, drill now. Let the refineries and the pipelines be built. Stop kowtowing to foreign countries and dictators asking them to ramp up production and industry for us, promising them that we’ll be their greatest customer. No, not when we have the resources here. We need to move on tapping our own God-given natural resources. I promise you that this will bring real job growth, not the politicians’ phony “green jobs” fairy dust sprinkled with wishes and glitter… No, a hardcore all-of-the-above energy policy that builds this indestructible link between made-in-America energy and our prosperity and our security. You know, there are enough large conventional natural resource development projects waiting for government approval that could potentially create more than a million high-paying jobs all across the country. And this is true stimulus. It wouldn’t cost government a dime to allow the private sector to do these. In fact, these projects will generate billions of dollars in revenue. Can you imagine that: a stimulus project that actually helps dig us out of debt instead of digging us further into it! And these are good-paying jobs, and I know that from experience. For years my own family was supported (as Todd worked up on the North Slope) by a good energy sector job. America’s economic revival starts with America’s energy revival.

Read the complete text of Sarah Palin's speech in Indianola, IA:

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Barack Obama, ozone and the EPA

On September 2, 2011, the White House issued a statement explaining President Barack Obama’s decision to “request that EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson withdraw the draft Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards at this time.” 
Over the last two and half years, my administration, under the leadership of EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, has taken some of the strongest actions since the enactment of the Clean Air Act four decades ago to protect our environment and the health of our families from air pollution. From reducing mercury and other toxic air pollution from outdated power plants to doubling the fuel efficiency of our cars and trucks, the historic steps we’ve taken will save tens of thousands of lives each year, remove over a billion tons of pollution from our air, and produce hundreds of billions of dollars in benefits for the American people.
At the same time, I have continued to underscore the importance of reducing regulatory burdens and regulatory uncertainty, particularly as our economy continues to recover. With that in mind, and after careful consideration, I have requested that Administrator Jackson withdraw the draft Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards at this time. Work is already underway to update a 2006 review of the science that will result in the reconsideration of the ozone standard in 2013. Ultimately, I did not support asking state and local governments to begin implementing a new standard that will soon be reconsidered.
I want to be clear: my commitment and the commitment of my administration to protecting public health and the environment is unwavering. I will continue to stand with the hardworking men and women at the EPA as they strive every day to hold polluters accountable and protect our families from harmful pollution. And my administration will continue to vigorously oppose efforts to weaken EPA’s authority under the Clean Air Act or dismantle the progress we have made.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Jon Huntsman Jobs Plan: Energy and environment

Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman released a new jobs plan on August 31, 2011. In it, the former Utah Governor and U.S. Ambassador to China pledged to “oppose a new ozone rule the that would effectively halt new construction.” Just two days later, President Barack Obama announced his own decision to ask EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to “withdraw the draft Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards.”

Huntsman also pledged to roll back EPA authority while moving the nation towards energy independence.

Video of Jon Huntsman announcing his new jobs plan at Gilchrist Metal Fabricating in Hudson, NH: 

Text of Jon Huntsman’s jobs plan that deals with energy and the environment:

Regulatory Reform

Dramatically Rein In The EPA: While the nation struggles to recover from economic turmoil, EPA has imposed vast new rules on the nation’s energy producers, crippling one of the most critically important components of economic recovery: energy supply. Among the rules Gov. Huntsman will oppose is a new ozone rule that would effectively halt new construction.

End the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Gross Regulatory Overreach:
The EPA has overplayed its hand. While the nation struggles to recover from economic turmoil, the EPA has imposed vast new rules on the nation’s energy producers, crippling one of the most critically important components of economic recovery: energy supply. The following are examples of the many rules Gov. Huntsman will oppose and/or roll-back:

Ozone Standard Revision – This rule promises no clear benefits yet threatens to hinder job growth in the form of what is effectively a nationwide construction ban that benefits no one more than China.

Joint Fuel-Efficiency Rules – This rule, approved by the EPA and Department of Transportation, will bar heavy-duty vehicles from converting to natural gas, which America has an abundance of. Astonishingly, this was enacted even after the agencies concluded that “more alternative-fueled vehicles on the road would arguably displace petroleum-fueled vehicles, and thereby increase both U.S. energy and national security by reducing the nation’s dependence on foreign oil.”

Expedite the Environmental Permitting Process: Gov. Huntsman is committed to streamlining the process for developing new energy supplies and bringing them to market.

Energy Independence

“To free ourselves from OPEC’s grasp, we must end our heroin-like addiction to foreign oil. And the money earned by American energy suppliers can be spent in American stores, saved in American banks and invested in American communities to create American jobs.” -Gov. Huntsman, 8/31/11

End OPEC’s Pricing And Supply Power, Promote Jobs, And Increase Overall Domestic Supply: The United States must expedite the process for reviewing and approving safe, environmentally sound energy projects, including the development of North American oil and gas reserves; oil and gas in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska; shale gas and oil in the U.S.; and Canadian oil sands.

Level The Playing Field And Create A Fully Competitive Market For Cleaner Domestic Alternative Transportation Fuels: The United States must eliminate the subsidies and regulations that support foreign oil and inhibit domestic alternatives such as compressed natural gas (CNG), electricity, biofuels, and coal-to-liquids, which are not price-controlled by OPEC.

50 years ago, President Eisenhower warned we should import no more than 20 percent of our oil; today we import 60 percent. Every year America sends more than $300 billion overseas for oil – much of it to unstable and unfriendly regimes. This threatens our national and economic security. 10 of the last 11 recessions were preceded by sharp spikes in the price of oil.

Governor Huntsman is proposing an “all of the above” policy, with two main elements:

First, we must expedite the review and approval of safe and environmentally-sound energy projects, including the development of North American oil and gas reserves; oil and gas in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska; shale gas and oil in the U.S.; and Canadian oil sands.

Second, we must eliminate subsidies and regulations that support foreign oil and inhibit clean, domestic alternatives such as natural gas, biofuels and coal-to-liquid fuel. America is drowning in competitive energy supplies from domestic sources. We must employ those resources, or risk allowing foreign nations to control our energy future.


Producing Our Own Energy Future

Streamline Approval for New Energy Production

America can and should produce more oil right here at home. There is no reason drilling cannot be safely conducted in the Gulf, across the states and in Alaska.

The current Administration is pursuing regulations that will hinder domestic energy development and cost thousands of jobs. Regulations and approvals for new wells and pipelines need to be streamlined and directed to “move at the speed of business.”

The federal government’s commitment to safety and the environment must no longer be distorted into a prohibition against American energy security. President Reagan created a mechanism for the swift resolution of regulatory delays without sacrificing safety concerns. The same must be duplicated again.

Break Down Barriers Blocking the Full and Safe Deployment of Fracking

A new technique for recovering previously inaccessible gas – combining hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) with high-technology horizontal drilling – has the potential to increase America’s domestic production by 25 percent.

Critics are attacking fracking, but the practice has been used on more than one million currently producing wells – more than 35,000 per year – using a technology that has been perfected over 60 years. Because of fracking, the United States surpassed Russia as the world’s leading producer of natural gas.

Federal guidelines regulating its application need to recognize the economic benefits and value of enhancing America’s energy independence, while also weighing environmental concerns.

Embrace Emerging Technologies Like Coal-to-Liquid Fuel

Coal is one of America’s most abundant energy resources and the mainstay of many communities. America has enough coal reserves to supply us for 300 years at current consumption. Yet in recent years, government regulations and litigation have attacked coal from every possible angle, destroying critical jobs and closing access to this critical domestic energy source.

Converting coal into a liquid fuel will alleviate our dependence on foreign oil while maintaining jobs and local economies, but this technology is not yet deployed. We must eliminate barriers to its full deployment.

Look North

Our dependence on foreign oil didn’t develop overnight, and it won’t end overnight. As a bridge, we must look north to Canada.

America imports twice as much oil from Canada as we do from Saudi Arabia, and our northern neighbor is increasing production every day. There are 170 billion barrels of recoverable oil in Alberta’s oil sands deposits – more reserves than in all of Iraq.

However, lawsuits and legislation in the United States are attempting to block access to this resource from our neighbor and friend.

Others see the potential in these fields. China wants to invest in Canada’s oil infrastructure. Meanwhile, the United States government is dithering over a pipeline’s proposal to ship Canadian oil to the United States.

The federal government needs to assure Canada that American consumers are ready and willing to purchase the production of Alberta’s oil sands. Every barrel from a friend is one less from a foe.

Eliminate Subsidies to Level The Playing Field for Domestic Fuels

Much attention has been paid, rightly, to the federal government’s improper role in using subsidies to favor one energy resource over others. America’s energy future must be based on a level playing field. But the playing field cannot be level so long as federal regulation erects or reinforces barriers to entry, which prevent a competitive market for competing fuels.

Ensure That Our Transportation Fuel Markets are Competitive

The current system of transportation fuels is essentially closed to newer competition because of (1) gasoline’s near-monopoly in the distribution network for light-duty vehicles, and diesel’s near monopoly for heavy-duty vehicles; and (2) numerous regulatory barriers to entry.

Accordingly, to create a truly competitive energy market, the federal government must:

Commence expedited review of the transportation fuel distribution network by both the Federal Trade Commission and Senate Judiciary Committee (the concentration of distribution ownership is similar to the broadcast network domination in the early 1970s, which triggered market-opening FCC rules and an antitrust consent decree

Eliminate all regulatory barriers to entry for competing fuels, and create a level playing field that allows competing fuels full access to the distribution grid.

Ensure open markets for natural gas and other alternative fuels in order to stabilize prices and provide a predictable investment environment.

Eliminate Regulations Preventing Energy Innovations and Competitive Transportation Fuels From Reaching Market

End the Regulatory Roadblocks Against Competitive Fuels Like Natural Gas

America has more natural gas than Saudi Arabia has oil. Yet on August 9th, the Department of Transportation and Environmental Protection Agency issued fuel efficiency rules that effectively bar heavy-duty vehicles – which consume 20% of our oil imports – from converting to natural gas.

The agencies did this even after conceding that “more alternative-fueled vehicles on the road would arguably displace petroleum-fueled vehicles, and thereby increase both U.S. energy and national security by reducing the nation’s dependence on foreign oil.”

Gov. Huntsman supports the repeal of these rules and others, which increase our reliance on foreign oil and discourage domestic job growth.

Spur Investment in Modernizing Our Power Grid

Federal regulations are hindering America’s conversion to a fully modern “smart grid” system –something badly needed if the next generation, for example, chooses to charge electric vehicles in their garages at night.

Encourage State-Based Solutions

Methods of energy production vary greatly across the fifty states. The Northwest has world-class hydropower facilities, California leads the nation in geothermal, and more than 15 percent of Iowa’s energy generation comes from wind. Despite this diversity, EPA rules prohibit states from coming up with their own ways to reduce pollution at the lowest cost to local businesses.

For example, EPA should revive state authority to allow centrally-fueled fleets to convert to cleaner alternative fuels to help meet our air quality standards at much lower cost to consumers.

Force Washington To Face Facts

The federal government is responsible for reducing obstacles to competitive markets that ensure a level playing field. Washington must base its energy policy on sound science, transparent government, and thorough public debate.

Click here to read the full version of Time to Compete: An American Jobs Plan 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Presidential candidate events in New Hampshire for Labor Day 2011

Here's a quick look at the presidential candidates visiting New Hampshire over the 2011 Labor Day weekend.

Thursday, September 1

Ron Paul Town Hall Meeting

Get an early start to the Labor Day weekend as New England College hosts a Town Hall Meeting with Ron Paul. The event gets underway at 7:00 PM - 98 Bridge St. in Henniker, NH.

Sunday, September 4

Concord Tea Party Express Rally

Mitt Romney and Buddy Roemer will attend a Tea Party Express rally in Concord, NH. The event kicks off at 6:00 PM at Rollins Park, located at 33 Bow Street in Concord.

Monday, September 5

Manchester Tea Party Express Rally

Sarah Palin will join presidential candidates Buddy Roemer and Gary Johnson for a Tea Party Express rally in Manchester, NH. The event starts at 12:00 PM at Veterans Memorial Park in downtown Manchester.

Nashua Tea Party Express Rally

A third Tea Part Express rally is planned for Nashua, NH and will feature Buddy Roemer and Gary Johnson. Start time of 5:00 PM at the Nashua Holiday Inn - 9 Northeastern Blvd.