Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Energy Becomes Key Point In 2nd Presidential Debate

Oct 16: An intense back and forth between President Obama and Governor Romney on energy issues was a significant part of the second Presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY. The following are excerpts related to energy issues.
President Obama:
". . .we've got to control our own energy. Now, not only oil and natural gas, which we've been investing in; but also, we've got to make sure we're building the energy source of the future, not just thinking about next year, but ten years from now, 20 years from now. That's why we've invested in solar and wind and biofuels, energy efficient cars.

"The most important thing we can do is to make sure we control our own energy. So here's what I've done since I've been president. We have increased oil production to the highest levels in 16 years. Natural gas production is the highest it's been in decades. We have seen increases in coal production and coal employment. But what I've also said is we can't just produce traditional source of energy. We've also got to look to the future. That's why we doubled fuel efficiency standards on cars. That means that in the middle of the next decade, any car you buy, you're going to end up going twice as far on a gallon of gas. That's why we doubled clean -- clean energy production like wind and solar and biofuels.

"And all these things have contributed to us lowering our oil imports to the lowest levels in 16 years. Now, I want to build on that. And that means, yes, we still continue to open up new areas for drilling. We continue to make it a priority for us to go after natural gas. We've got potentially 600,000 jobs and 100 years worth of energy right beneath our feet with natural gas. And we can do it in an environmentally sound way. But we've also got to continue to figure out how we have efficiency energy, because ultimately that's how we're going to reduce demand and that's what's going to keep gas prices lower.

"Now, Governor Romney will say he's got an all-of-the-above plan, but basically his plan is to let the oil companies write the energy policies. So he's got the oil and gas part, but he doesn't have the clean energy part. And if we are only thinking about tomorrow or the next day and not thinking about 10 years from now, we're not going to control our own economic future. Because China, Germany, they're making these investments. And I'm not going to cede those jobs of the future to those countries. I expect those new energy sources to be built right here in the United States."

". . .there's no doubt that world [oil & gas] demand's gone up, but our production is going up, and we're using oil more efficiently. And very little of what Governor Romney just said is true. We've opened up public lands. We're actually drilling more on public lands than in the previous administration and my -- the previous president was an oil man. And natural gas isn't just appearing magically. We're encouraging it and working with the industry.

"And when I hear Governor Romney say he's a big coal guy, I mean, keep in mind, when -- Governor, when you were governor of Massachusetts, you stood in front of a coal plant and pointed at it and said, 'This plant kills,' and took great pride in shutting it down. And now suddenly you're a big champion of coal. So what I've tried to do is be consistent. With respect to something like coal, we made the largest investment in clean coal technology, to make sure that even as we're producing more coal, we're producing it cleaner and smarter. Same thing with oil, same thing with natural gas.

"And the proof is our oil imports are down to the lowest levels in 20 years. Oil production is up, natural gas production is up, and, most importantly, we're also starting to build cars that are more efficient. And that's creating jobs. That means those cars can be exported, 'cause that's the demand around the world, and it also means that it'll save money in your pocketbook. That's the strategy you need, an all-of-the-above strategy, and that's what we're going to do in the next four years. . . "

"And with respect to this pipeline that Governor Romney keeps on talking about, we've -- we've built enough pipeline to wrap around the entire earth once. So, I'm all for pipelines. I'm all for oil production. What I'm not for is us ignoring the other half of the equation. So, for example, on wind energy, when Governor Romney says "these are imaginary jobs." When you've got thousands of people right now in Iowa, right now in Colorado, who are working, creating wind power with good-paying manufacturing jobs, and the Republican senator in that -- in Iowa is all for it, providing tax breaks (ph) to help this work and Governor Romney says I'm opposed. I'd get rid of it. That's not an energy strategy for the future. And we need to win that future. And I intend to win it as President of the United States. . ."

Governor Romney:
". . .the president's right in terms of the additional oil production, but none of it came on federal land. As a matter of fact, oil production is down 14 percent this year on federal land [See link to analysis of this statement below], and gas production was down 9 percent. Why? Because the president cut in half the number of licenses and permits for drilling on federal lands, and in federal waters. So where'd the increase come from? Well a lot of it came from the Bakken Range in North Dakota. What was his participation there? The administration brought a criminal action against the people drilling up there for oil, this massive new resource we have. And what was the cost? 20 or 25 birds were killed and brought out a migratory bird act to go after them on a criminal basis.
"Look, I want to make sure we use our oil, our coal, our gas, our nuclear, our renewables. I believe very much in our renewable capabilities; ethanol, wind, solar will be an important part of our energy mix. But what we don't need is to have the president keeping us from taking advantage of oil, coal and gas. This has not been Mr. Oil, or Mr. Gas, or Mr. Coal. Talk to the people that are working in those industries. I was in coal country. People grabbed my arms and said, "Please save my job." The head of the EPA said, "You can't build a coal plant. You'll virtually -- it's virtually impossible given our regulations." When the president ran for office, he said if you build a coal plant, you can go ahead, but you'll go bankrupt. That's not the right course for America.
"Let's take advantage of the energy resources we have, as well as the energy sources for the future. And if we do that, if we do what I'm planning on doing, which is getting us energy independent, North America energy independence within eight years, you're going to see manufacturing jobs come back. Because our energy is low cost, that are already beginning to come back because of our abundant energy. I'll get America and North America energy independent. I'll do it by more drilling, more permits and licenses. We're going to bring that pipeline in from Canada. How in the world the president said no to that pipeline? I will never know. This is about bringing good jobs back for the middle class of America, and that's what I'm going to do. . ."
"In the last four years, you cut permits and licenses on federal land and federal waters in half. . . [significant back and forth with the President about this point] . . . Production on government land of oil is down 14 percent [major disagreement from the President] . . .It's absolutely true. Look, there's no question but the people recognize that we have not produced more (inaudible) on federal lands and in federal waters. And coal, coal production is not up; coal jobs are not up. I was just at a coal facility, where some 1,200 people lost their jobs. The right course for America is to have a true all-of-the-above policy. I don't think anyone really believes that you're a person who's going to be pushing for oil and gas and coal. . .
"I will fight for oil, coal and natural gas. And the proof, the proof of whether a strategy is working or not is what the price is that you're paying at the pump. If you're paying less than you paid a year or two ago, why, then, the strategy is working. But you're paying more. When the president took office, the price of gasoline here in Nassau County was about $1.86 a gallon. Now, it's $4.00 a gallon. The price of electricity is up.

"If the president's energy policies are working, you're going to see the cost of energy come down. I will fight to create more energy in this country, to get America energy secure. And part of that is bringing in a pipeline of oil from Canada, taking advantage of the oil and coal we have here, drilling offshore in Alaska, drilling offshore in Virginia where the people want it. Those things will get us the energy we need. . .

"I appreciate wind jobs in Iowa and across our country. I appreciate the jobs in coal and oil and gas. I'm going to make sure -- we're taking advantage of our energy resources. We'll bring back manufacturing to America. We're going to get through a very aggressive energy policy, 31/2 million more jobs in this country. It's critical to our future. . ."
    Access the complete transcript of the October 16, 2012 Presidential debate (click here). Access more information on this debate and all other from the Commission on Presidential Debate website (click here). Access the analysis of the oil production statement (click here). [#Energy]
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