Romney's bold energy plan

Today Gov. Romney rolled out his energy plan during a campaign stop in Nevada. The ambitious proposal (PDF) is to make North American energy independent by 2020. It's basically the opposite of President Obama's policies, so let's start with a reminder of what Obama did:

(1) Obama put a moratorium on offshore drilling that blocks development on 85% of America's continental shelf.

(2) Obama's Environmental Protection Agency routinely overreached by lawlessly forcing states to comply with arbitrary regulations and then was slapped down by the courts in costly litigation.

(3) Obama's Department of the Interior behaved so badly denying development permits that it was held in contempt of court.

(4) Obama's stimulus bill spent billions in "green" energy projects that went bankrupt or went to fund foreign companies.

The combined result of the Obama policies was to make gasoline, natural gas and electricity more expensive than they would otherwise have been. Obama's policies were exactly the type of thing that does not help the working and middle classes, who are least able to adapt to rising prices of gasoline and electricity.

Romney wants to change all that. Whereas the President has put a federal stranglehold on permits for oil, gas and coal production, Romney proposes to let the states take the lead in energy production permitting. In other words, if California wants to let its enormous mineral wealth sit uselessly in the ground, that's California's business. On the other hand, states like Colorado, North Dakota, Utah and Texas, all of which want to enjoy the plumb growth economies that come with the energy industry, wouldn't find themselves buried under a mountain of paperwork and environmental lawsuits.

On that note, rather than use the EPA to "crucify" the oil and gas industry, as one of the President's EPA officials bragged, Romney proposes to reform the laws and the regulations that the EPA and environmentalists have regularly used to paralyze energy development. That includes approval for the Keystone XL pipeline that would link us with Canada's growing energy wealth and reinforce North American energy independence. It also includes opening more offshore areas for drilling in the states that want it.

Ultimately, the goal of Romney's energy plan is to guarantee affordable, reliable energy. Along the way, the proposal aims to deliver new jobs and greater economic growth. What the plan does not do is mention global warming. And it does not promise to spend federal tax dollars on green energy projects that cannot survive in the free market. I expect those omissions are deliberate and I expect they'll form the root of Democrats' objection to Romney's plan.


Sarah Palin's perfume is in the air.