Obama, Romney Have Very Different Approaches on Energy: Experts on Platts Energy Week
WASHINGTON, Sept. 17, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Platts — Although both claim to favor an “all of the above” strategy for establishing energy policies and achieving energy independence, President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney have very different approaches, experts said during a special U.S. presidential campaign edition of Platts Energy Week, an all-energy news and talk show program.
Elgie Holstein, a senior energy adviser to the Obama campaign and former chief of staff at the U.S. Department of Energy, said the president’s policies have helped boost development of renewable energy, which he said is a crucial element in developing energy policy. He said Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, does not support renewable energy.
“Governor Romney talks about energy independence, but he wants to take off the table the things we need to get there,” Holstein said. “President Obama has doubled our use of renewables in this country and we’re on the way to doubling the fuel efficiency of our cars and trucks by 2025. These are things that Governor Romney just doesn’t support.”
But Romney supporter Jeff Holmstead, head of the Environmental Strategies Group for the law firm Bracewell & Giuliani and a former assistant administrator at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), said Obama has stifled development of conventional energy sources so the government can help subsidize renewable projects instead.
“The number of permits that have been issued for any type of an energy project has trickled to almost nothing, so there is a difference between seeking jobs that can only be achieved through federal subsidies and actually getting the federal government out of the way and letting people develop the resources that are at our disposal today,” he said.
He said the “heavy hand” of government has made it too hard to get permits for conventional sources, and said the coal industry has been a particular target since Obama took office.
“[A] much more expensive energy is all he’s given us so far,” he said.
Holstein, however, countered that Obama’s policies have struck a balance between environmental and economic concerns.
“The president has committed over $5 billion … to clean coal,” he said. “It isn’t that the president opposes coal, it’s that we no longer have to make these choices between a dirty environment a healthy economy.”
Holstein said the low price of natural gas has been the biggest problem for coal.
“If coal is losing market share to natural gas … these are choices that industry is free to make under this administration,” he said.
He added that Obama deserves credit for increased natural gas production and a drop in oil imports, countering Republican complaints that he is blocking production.
“You can’t turn around and say that somehow or other the president is blocking these things when clearly it’s happening,” he said.
Holmstead said the energy industry, not Obama, should get the credit for any increases in production.
“It is completely disingenuous for the president to say, as he did, ‘We cut oil imports.’ The president hasn’t done anything,” he said. “It’s like the rooster taking credit for the sun coming up.”
Holmstead said Romney would spur American oil and gas production by giving more power to the states, but not at the expense of environmental concerns.
“There are much better ways of achieving our environmental objectives, and that’s what the Romney campaign has said they want to do,” he said.
Holmstead said environmentalists have too much sway in determining energy policy under Obama.
“There has always been … robust debate within administrations to try and balance energy concerns and environmental concerns,” he said. “Under this administration, our energy policy has been completely turned over to EPA.”
Holstein said he was concerned about the direction Romney would take energy policy.
“My concern about Governor Romney is that he, if elected, would turn America’s energy policy over to the oil industry,” he said. “I think that’s going backwards.”
Holstein said the Obama administration is not interested in regulating hydraulic fracturing as long as the states are doing their job.
“The states have really taken the lead on this and I think they’re doing a good job,” he said.
Holmstead said that while the Romney campaign agreed with that approach, he doubted whether the Obama administration would opt not to regulate fracking since there are already six federal agencies looking at the issue.
“There does need to be oversight, I think the public needs to understand this can be done safely, but we don’t need more federal government involvement,” he said.
Platts Energy Week airs at 7:30 a.m. U.S. Eastern time Sunday mornings on W*USA TV 9 in greater Washington, D.C. and in Houston at 4:00 p.m. U.S. Central time on Sunday on KUHT HoustonPBS (Channel 8), as well as other PBS stations throughout the United States. The program is also available on the web at www.plattsenergyweektv.com.
The program follows an interview format featuring guests from the energy industry Obama administration, Congress, government agencies, think tanks, and the investment community. Host Bill Loveless is the long-time editor of Platts’ Inside Energy and brings nearly three decades of energy journalism experience to the anchor chair.
Platts Energy Week is produced by Platts, the world’s leading source of information and intelligence on energy and related commodities and a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP), and W*USA-TV, the Washington, D.C., CBS affiliate and flagship television station of Gannett Company. While the program is U.S. focused and produced in Washington, it reflects the global vantage point of Platts, those correspondents are stationed in such major capitals as London, Dubai, Singapore, Tokyo and Moscow.
Guest booking for Platts Energy Week and related inquiries should be addressed to this email box: firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional information about Platts and the energy sector can be found at the Platts website at www.platts.com. For more on W*USA 9 News Now, visit the W*USA website atwww.wusa9.com.
About Platts: Founded in 1909, Platts is a leading global provider of energy, petrochemicals and metals information and a premier source of benchmark prices for the physical and futures markets. Platts’ news, pricing, analytics, commentary and conferences help customers make better-informed trading and business decisions and help the markets operate with greater transparency and efficiency. Customers in more than 150 countries benefit from Platts’ coverage of the carbon emissions, coal, electricity, oil, natural gas, metals, nuclear power, petrochemical, and shipping markets. A division of The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP), Platts is headquartered in New York with approximately 900 employees in more than 15 offices worldwide. Additional information is available at http://www.platts.com.
About The McGraw-Hill Companies: McGraw-Hill announced on September 12, 2011, its intention to separate into two companies: McGraw-Hill Financial, a leading provider of content and analytics to global financial markets, and McGraw-Hill Education, a leading education company focused on digital learning and education services worldwide. McGraw-Hill Financial’s leading brands include Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services, S&P Capital IQ, S&P Dow Jones Indices, Platts energy information services and J.D. Power and Associates. With sales of $6.2 billion in 2011, the Corporation has approximately 23,000 employees across more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Additional information is available at http://www.mcgraw-hill.com/.
About W*USA: W*USA is owned by the Gannett Company Inc. Gannett is an international news and information company operating on multiple platforms including the Internet, mobile, newspapers, magazines and TV stations. Gannett is an Internet leader with hundreds of newspaper and TV Web sites; CareerBuilder.com, the nation’s top employment site; USATODAY.com; and more than 80 local MomsLikeMe.com sites. Gannett publishes 84 daily U.S. newspapers, including USA TODAY, the nation’s largest-selling daily newspaper, and more than 700 magazines and other non-dailies including USA WEEKEND. Gannett also operates 23 television stations in 19 U.S. markets. Gannett subsidiary Newsquest is the United Kingdom’s second largest regional newspaper company with 17 daily paid-for titles, more than 200 weekly newspapers, magazines and trade publications, and a network of Web sites. Gannett TV stations are: WATL-TV, Atlanta, WXIA-TV, Atlanta, WLBZ-TV, Bangor, Maine, WGRZ-TV, Buffalo, N.Y.WKYC-TV, Cleveland, Ohio, WLTX-TV, Columbia, S.C., KTVD-TV, Denver, Colo. KUSA-TV, Denver, Colo. KNAZ-TV, Flagstaff, Ariz. WZZM-TV, Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Battle Creek, Mich., WFMY-TV, Greensboro, N.C., WTLV-TV, Jacksonville, Fla., WJXX-TV, Jacksonville, Fla., WBIR-TV, Knoxville, Tenn., KTHV-TV, Little Rock, Ark., WMAZ-TV, Macon, Ga., KARE-TV, Minneapolis-St. Paul, KPNX-TV, Phoenix, Ariz., WCSH-TV, Portland, Maine, KXTV-TV, Sacramento, Calif., KSDK-TV, St. Louis, Mo., WTSP-TV, Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla. WUSA-TV, Washington, D.C.