Thursday, October 04, 2012

Presidential Debate Hits Lightly On Energy, Oil, Coal & Renewables

Oct 3: The first Presidential debate in Denver touched lightly on energy issues including comments on oil development, renewables and coal. However, there were no specific questions from the moderator related to energy and environment issues. Climate change or global warming were not discussed by either President Obama or Governor Romney. The word "environment" was only mentioned once but it did not relate to the natural environment. The following is a summary of the energy related comments covered in the 90 minute debate.
    In opening remarks President Obama said, "I think we've got to invest in education and training. I think it's important for us to develop new sources of energy here in America. . ." In his opening remarks, Governor Mitt Romney said, "My plan has five basic parts. One, get us energy independent, North American energy independent. That creates about 4 million jobs. . ."
    At around 20 minutes into the debate, President Obama expanded on his energy comment saying, "On energy, Governor Romney and I, we both agree that we've got to boost American energy production, and oil and natural gas production are higher than they've been in years. But I also believe that we've got to look at the energy sources of the future, like wind and solar and biofuels, and make those investments. . ."
    And, Governor Romney expanded on his comment saying, "Energy is critical, and the president pointed out correctly that production of oil and gas in the U.S. is up. But not due to his policies. In spite of his policies. Mr. President, all of the increase in natural gas and oil has happened on private land, not on government land. On government land, your administration has cut the number of permits and licenses in half. If I'm president, I'll double them, and also get the -- the oil from offshore and Alaska. And I'll bring that pipeline in from Canada. And, by the way, I like coal. I'm going to make sure we can continue to burn clean coal. People in the coal industry feel like it's getting crushed by your policies. I want to get America and North America energy independent so we can create those jobs. . .
    President Obama commented later that one of the reasons for returning to the Clinton era tax rate for incomes over $250,000 was to make "investments that are necessary in education or in energy."
    The President discussed subsidies for oil companies saying, "The oil industry gets $4 billion a year in corporate welfare. Basically, they get deductions that those small businesses that Governor Romney refers to, they don't get. Now, does anybody think that ExxonMobil needs some extra money, when they're making money every time you go to the pump? Why wouldn't we want to eliminate that?"
    Governor Romney responded on tax breaks and oil saying, ". . .the Department of Energy has said the tax break for oil companies is $2.8 billion a year. And it's actually an accounting treatment, as you know, that's been in place for a hundred years. And in one year, you provided $90 billion in breaks to the green energy world. Now, I like green energy as well, but that's about 50 years' worth of what oil and gas receives. And you say Exxon and Mobil. Actually, this $2.8 billion goes largely to small companies, to drilling operators and so forth. But, you know, if we get that tax rate from 35 percent down to 25 percent, why that $2.8 billion is on the table. Of course it's on the table. That's probably not going to survive you get that rate down to 25 percent. But don't forget, you put $90 billion, like 50 years' worth of breaks, into -- into solar and wind, to Solyndra and Fisker and Tester and Ener1. I mean, I had a friend who said you don't just pick the winners and losers, you pick the losers, all right? So this -- this is not -- this is not the kind of policy you want to have if you want to get America energy secure. . ."
    Governor Romney commented again on the President's investment in green energy saying, "But you make a very good point, which is that the place you put your money just makes a pretty clear indication of where your heart is. You put $90 billion into -- into green jobs. And I -- look, I'm all in favor of green energy. $90 billion, that would have -- that would have hired 2 million teachers. $90 billion. . ."
    Access the complete transcript of the debate posted on the CNN website with commenting opportunities (click here). Access the video of the debate (click here). [#Energy]
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