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a guide to environmental issues in the 2012 Presidential Race
Compiled by POSC 370: Environmental Politics, Simpson College: Phillip Burch, Rawley Butler, Jared Murphy, and Annie Olson
http://climate.nasa.gov/causes/ (see graphic at right)
Reed Karaim, “Climate Change,” CQ Researcher. CQ Press, 2012, p.33.
International Global Warming Policies
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change signed in 1992 at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janerio launched the international response to global warming. “The Convention established a long-term objective of stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere „at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system‟. It also set a voluntary goal of reducing emissions from developed countries to 1990 levels by 2000 - a goal that most countries did not meet. Currently 191 parties, including the US, have ratified the UNFCCC.”
The Kyoto Protocol, negotiated in December of 1997, is an international agreement to set binding targets for 37 industrialized countries and the European Community for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. These amount to five percent against 1990 levels over the five-year period 2008-2012. It wasn‟t until February of 2005 that the Protocol went into force and made the emission‟s targets binding legal commitments for those industrialized countries that ratified it. The United States has not yet ratified the Protocol. http://www.c2es.org/international/negotiations; http://unfccc.int/kyoto_protocol/items/2830.php The Copenhagen Climate Change Conference raised climate change policy to the highest political level. Close to 115 world leaders attended the high-level segment. The Copenhagen Accord included the long-term goal of limiting the maximum global average temperature increase to no more than 2 degrees Celsius about pre-industrial levels, subject to a review in 2015. "But at the Copenhagen conference, delegates agreed only to “take note” of the accord, without formally adopting it."
http://unfccc.int/meetings/copenhagen_dec_2009/ meeting/6295.php; Reed Karaim, “Climate Change,” CQ Researcher. CQ Press, 2012, p.29.
Policies to Reduce Carbon Emissions
Cap-and-trade would limit greenhouse gases by letting emitters trade emissions allowances themselves. Cap-and-trade limits greenhouse gas emissions via… A mandatory cap on emissions Requiring polluters to buy permits for their excess emissions Making it more expensive to generate energy from fossil fuels Not inhibiting economic growth
http://bit.ly/Ugau8v A levy on carbon-emitting fuels from “upstream” producers such as coal Coupled with a system to rebate most of the tax back to consumers For Example - A measure to impose a fee of $0.44 per metric ton of CO2
Carbon Tax is …
A Carbon Tax provides a price incentive for discouraging the use of carbon emitting fuels and encouraging the use of green energy; a tax cut would keep the approach from unduly burdening lowerincome Americans.
mines or natural gas and oil wells
emitted by businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area. Carbon Tax would … Raise prices that “downstream” consumers, such as businesses and households, ultimately pay for carbon-intensive goods and services Directly reduce greenhouse gas emissions; incentivize technological progress
Karaim, “Climate Change,” CQ Researcher 2012, p.33; www.wri.org/publication/bottom-line-carbon-taxes
Indicators and Impacts of Global Warming
There is now clear evidence earth’s climate is warming Global surface temperatures have risen by 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit over the last 100 years. Worldwide, the last decade was the warmest on record. The rate of warming across the globe over the last 50 years (0.24 F per decade) is almost double the rate of warming over the last 100 years (0.13 F per decade).
Global Warming has ... Caused ice melt worldwide, mainly at the earth‟s poles. Influenced faster sea level rise Some butterflies, foxes, and alpine plants have moved farther north to higher, cool areas More variability in precipitation
Global Warming can . . . Increase or decrease rainfall Affect crop yields Change forests and other ecosystems
The Skeptics: Most skeptics acknowledge scientific data that the
Earth is warming, but question how large a role of human activity is in warming (vs. cyclical trends). Some skeptics are scientists, but few are climate scholars. Skeptic Freeman Dyson says, “climate-studies people who work with models always tend to over-estimate [the accuracy of] models.” Karaim, “Climate Change,” CQ Researcher 2012, p. 38.
Water Quality in the United States
Clean Water Act (CWA)
In 1972 a unified Congress overrode President Nixon’s veto to pass the Clean Water Act. The CWA sought to make all U.S. waters “fishable and swimmable.” Prior to the CWA roughly 1/3 of U.S. waters were “fishable and swimmable”, the rest were mainly polluted by sewage, pesticides, and heavy metals. As of 2012, roughly 65% of U.S. waters pass the fishable/swimmable test. However, roughly 35% are still labeled too polluted to fish/swim. This is often due to poor farming and industrial practices that leak pollutants into waterways. The CWA has made significant strides towards it’s ultimate goal, but still requires funding to organizations like the EPA to enforce the historic act.
For more: http:// www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/11/clean -water-act-2012_n_1874980.html; http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/cwa.cfm? program_id=6
Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA)
Two years after the passage of the Clean Water Act, Congress passed the Safe Drinking Water Act. The SDWA is the main piece regulatory legislation to ensure Americans have safe and healthy water to drink. The EPA was designated at the governmental branch who would regulate the SDWA to protect public health. The SDWA was amended in 1986 and 1996 to ensure that rivers, lakes, reservoirs, springs, and public wells (serving 25 persons or more) were held to safety standards as well. However, much like the CWA, the SDWA relies on government funding to the EPA and other governmental organizations to ensure the law and regulations are upheld. Unlike air, heath problems due to the cleanliness of drinking water is not typical in the United States. This is primarily due to the success of the SDWA. For more: http://water.epa.gov/ lawsregs/rulesregs/sdwa/index.cfm
Air Quality in the United States
Clean Air Act
The Clean Air Act (CAA) was passed in 1970 to regulate emissions that are potentially harmful to public health and overall contributors to global warming. The CAA is regarded as a successful piece of legislation considering over the past 20+ years emissions of six principle pollutants have decreased by over 41%, while the U.S. GDP has increased over 64%. However, work still remains to be done as the U.S. is still considered one of the top emitters in the world.
For more: http://www.epa.gov/air/caa/
An increasing number of studies show a connection between asthma and emissions/air pollution. In the U.S., asthma cases have increased 74% since 1980. Asthma causes shortness of breath, wheezing, and in some cases death. -See National Conference of State Legislatures, “State Actions on Addressing Asthma.” (ncsl.org) The main sources for the air pollutants above are transportation, fuel burning, industry, agriculture, and unpaved roads (i.e. dust). http://www.algebralab.org/practice/practice.aspx? file=reading_primaryairpollutants.xml
In March 2012, the Obama Administration proposed new standards to regulate Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions from new power plants, including limiting emissions from new coal power plants to 1,000 pounds per megawatt hour. Since technology does not exist to make this possible for coal power plants, the regulation may slow construction of new coal power plants. This standard was seen as groundbreaking as a way to improve air quality. But in August 2012 the U.S. Court of Appeals overturned the new standard, saying it oversteps EPA power and is “costly, burdensome, and arbitrary.”
For More: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/28/ science/earth/epa-sets-greenhouse-emission-limits-on -new-power-plants.html?_r=0 http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/healthscience/federal-appeals-court-strikes-down-obama-air -rule/2012/08/21/50af1caa-eb9c-11e1-b81109036bcb182b_story.html
US Emission Distribution by County
From the National Conference for State Legislatures (ncsl.org)
Dependence, Policy, and Controversies
Petroleum is the largest energy source in the United States and nearly three-fourths of the oil is used for transportation (CQ, 28). Nearly all products and commodities works with, is transported by, or is made with the influence of oil. This includes: transportation fuel for automobiles, diesel, and airplane fuel, construction of cars, computers, and microchips, fertilization of agriculture, food wraps, and cosmetics (Crude Awakening). http://www.c2es.org/technology-solutions/oil
Where Does Oil Come From?
Although production is on the rise and imports on the decline, the United States still imported 71 percent more than was produced domestically in 2010 (CQ, 4).
Sources of Oil
Natural gas is widely hailed as a ‘clean’ energy fuel because when burned it produces much lower levels of conventional air pollutants and carbon dioxide than oil or coal. And in contrast to nuclear power plants gas-fired electricity plants can be built much more quickly and at lower costs (CQ, 6). The United States has been making strides away form our dependency on foreign oil with natural gas. In 2011, the US became the world’s largest producer of natural gas in history. http://energy.aol.com/2012/09/04/fossil-fuels-more-less-or-the-same-under-obama-or-romney/
Sources of Oil (cont’d)
According to Gal Luft, executive director of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security, the United States uses about 21 million barrels of oil per day, of which 12 million are imported. Approximately one-fourth of the remaining 9 million barrels comes from domestic offshore oil production in the Gulf of Mexico. While some claim that the benefits of offshore drilling greatly outweigh the costs, opponents contend the risks far outweigh the benefits, including Oceana’s senior campaign director, Jacqueline Savitz, who cites environmental damage and a continuing addiction to oil as reasons to stop offshore drilling (CQ, 35-36).
From 2002 through 2008, Federal energy subsidies totaled $101.5 billion, according to the Environmental Law Institute. Nearly 70 Percent of the total— more than $70 billion— went to traditional fossil fuel producers of oil and natural gas. 16.6 percent went towards ethanol, only 12 percent to renewable energy, and 2 percent to capturing and storing carbon output (CQ, 13). While there is concern ending tax subsidies for oil companies will hurt the industry, resulting in fewer jobs and reduced federal revenue, Steve Kretzmann, Executive Director of Oil Change International claims , “subsidy removal would cause a loss of less than on-tenth of 1 percent in global oil supply and thus would have no impact on global or US oil prices”, (CQ, 17).
Between 2000 and 2006, production from natural shale gas formations grew at about 17% annually. However, this development has caused some problems of contaminated wastewater and pollution escaping into drinking water. (CQ, 6)
BP Oil Spill (May 24, 2010)
Jacqueline Savitz, Senior Scientist at Oceana: “This is more than an historical spill, it’s a glimpse of the broader problem caused by our oil addiction…and the risks of offshore drilling are so much greater than any that clean energy could every create” (CQ, 45). In June 2010, Scientists estimated that about 2.5 million gallons of oil were flowing into the Gulf each day since the accident .(CQ, 27) Effects on the environment were “extraordinarily dangerous” as scientists worried about a massive collapse in the marine food chain, permanent damage to shoreline ecosystems and serious health effects of chemical dispersant. (CQ, 27) http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/05/27/us/20100527-oil-landfall.html Other Sources — Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash. Directed by Ray McCormack — "Renewable Energy: More, Less or the Same under Obama or Romney?" AOL Energy. Web. 30 Oct. 2012. <http:// energy.aol.com/2012/09/06/renewable-energy-more-less-or-the-same-under-obama-or-romney/>. — Thomas, Billiteri J. “Offshore Drilling.” CQ Researcher (June25, 2010).
Renewable Energy and Ethanol
U.S. Energy Sources 2011
In this article:
How do we use wind and what is the current policy? What is the future of ethanol production? How does solar energy benefit us now and what is the current policy? What is the SunShot program?
By 2011, the United States was getting 9% of it’s electricity from renewables sources, including wind, solar, geothermal, hydroelectric, and biomass (fuels and wood) Collectively, biomass and hydroelectric sources make up over half of that energy, but they are now fully tapped resources and unlikely to grow. Wind, solar, and biofuels are hot topics today due to their potential growth, and are the focus of renewable energy efforts in 2012.
1. 2. 3.
http://energy.gov/articles/talkinbout-wind-generation http://energy.gov/scienceinnovation/energy-sources/ renewable-energy/solar http://energy.gov/articles/energydepartment-launches-sunshotprize-competition-install-solarenergy-systems-fraction http://www.afdc.energy.gov/fuels/ ethanol.html http://www.iowaagriculture.gov/ ethanol.asp http://www.windpowermonthly. com/channel/policyeconomics/ news/1116954/DoE-wind-budgetset-rise-less-2-2013/ http://www.afdc.energy.gov/fuels/ laws/3252/IA
4. 5. 6.
Renewable Energy Sources 2011
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Monthly Energy Review
R E NE WA B LE E NE R G Y A ND E T HA NO L
Wind energy is a fast growing sector of the energy industry in the United States. The newest wave of wind energy began at the turn of the century, and has gone up at increasing rates in the last five years. Wind equipment is also increasingly a domestic affair: the percentage of equipment, used domestically, and manufactured in the United States, has increased from 35 percent to 70 percent since 2005. In manufacturing, wind is largely a Midwest phenomena. The majority of wind facilities are concentrated around the Great Lakes region, with some facilities stretching to
the east coast, and a tiny smattering of production taking place on the western seaboard. With 30,000 jobs out of the 75,000 currently in wind generation, the manufacturing industry captures over a third of the total jobs in the wind energy field.
With a total of 32 percent of new growth in electricity generation coming from wind in the U.S., wind power is currently capturing a large proportion of energy investment. Whether or not wind is sustainable long term, right now it is a major player in the future of energy development(1).
Currently, the U.S. federal government’s policy on wind development is to ‘stay the course’. The existing administration’s plan has the funds allocated to wind development to increase by just under 2% - from 93.3m this year to 95m by 2013. Most of this planned increase would go towards the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Office, giving a funding boost of around 30% Energy Secretary Stephen Chu is currently pushing a pro-U.S. economic development initiative, and proposes spending the allocated funds on encouraging domestic companies to compete on the global market, putting the success of American wind companies ahead of free market forces. The focus of the current DOE would shift in 2013 from land-based wind parks to offshore wind farms, with 43m dedicated to investing in technology for the offshore wind power sector. Current policy makers believe offshore wind to be the future of wind development in the U.S(6).
An economic boon for the corn growing powerhouses of the Midwest, ethanol has becoming a large job supporter in the rural U.S.—in 2011 supporting 400,000 jobs, and bringing $29.9B into U.S. households. While the total green impact of ethanol is still being debated, in the short term ethanol releases less net carbon into the air—much of the carbon released by burning ethanol was absorbed by the growing plants from the air in the first place. Contributing $42.4B to the GDP of the U.S., ethanol is a money-maker nationally as well as regionally, and is now a major part of the U.S. energy industry. Ethanol is currently used as an additive in gasoline, but engines can be converted to run on mixes of 85% ethanol or even higher(4,5).
R E NE WA B LE E NE R G Y A ND E T HA NO L
Ethanol & Ethanol Policy
Ethanol laws vary widely from state to state, running the gamut from no incentives to tax credits to enforced percentages. In Iowa specifically, ethanol policy is currently one of tax credits: retailers can make use of the Ethanol Blend Retailer Tax Credit, which gives the retailer $0.08/gallon of ethanol blended into gasoline sold, but only if the retailer sells a certain overall percentage of renewable fuels. By law, the rate is set to increase from 13% biofuels this year, up to 25% by 2020, meaning a quarter of fuel sold by large retailers in Iowa will have to be renewable fuels like ethanol and soy based biodiesel. Other tax credits as well as infrastructure grants help Iowa entrepreneurs to set up retail chains that sell renewable fuels like E85 and biodiesel.
The current Iowa policy also encourages marketing/outreach programs to encourage the use of alternative fuels like ethanol, with grants available for programs that financially reward people who purchase vehicles that can run E85 and other renewable fuels(7).
More expensive per kilowatt hour and less reliable than other forms of energy, solar power generation is nonetheless on a rise in the U.S.— projected to increase to 18,000 megawatt hours per day by 2013. To help spur development in the field of solar energy, the federal government recently launched the SunShot Prize Competition, dedicated to reducing the incorrigibly require special expertise and a very high cost of initial investment that large surface area. currently plagues solar power. The future of solar While comparably energy depends on expensive to wind While solar hardware prices whether or not we when it comes to decide to continue have fallen about 75 percent in maintenance, solar investing in the panels are still inthe past four years, the soft technology, which credibly expensive could become a hot costs of installing solar energy and time consuming topic in the years to install, as they systems remain stubbornly high. ahead(2,3).
Current U.S. policy in solar is similar to wind: modest increases in funding, keeping in mind the current economic climate. Aside from the SunShot program described above, not as much focus has been placed on solar energy on the federal scale, as the consensus seems to be that wind has greater opportunity in the short term. Most current solar investment is in R&D (2).
Threat of Global Warming Obama The president believes it is a serious issue, exacerbated by fossil fuel use and linked to extreme weather. “Climate change is not a hoax,” he told the Democratic National Convention last month in Charlotte, North Carolina “More droughts and floods and wildfires are not a joke. They are a threat to our children's future.” i “The threat from climate change is serious, it is urgent, and it is growing. Our generation's response to this challenge will be judged by history, for if we fail to meet it -- boldly, swiftly, and together -- we risk consigning future generations to an irreversible catastrophe.” ii Romney “I believe that climate change is occurring – the reduction in the size of global ice caps is hard to ignore. I also believe that human activity is a contributing factor. I am uncertain how much of the warming, however, is attributable to man and how much is attributable to factors out of our control.” iii Global Warming and Policy Obama “We have to meet this challenge by driving smart policies that lead to greater growth in clean energy generation and result in a range of economic and social benefits.” iv “I will continue efforts to reduce our dependence on oil and lower our greenhouse gas emissions while creating an economy built to last. I directed the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to ensure that our policies reflect what science tells us without distortion or manipulation.” v Romney "I am not a scientist myself, but my best assessment of the data is that the world is getting warmer, that human activity contributes to that warming, and that policymakers should therefore consider the risk of negative consequences” vi "My view is we don't know what's causing climate change on this planet. And the idea of spending trillions and trillions of dollars to try to reduce CO2 emissions is not the right course for us." vii Climate Record/Plans Obama In 2006 he and 30 other senators wrote President Bush calling for government-imposed limits on heat trapping gas emissions. In January 2007 Obama joined Sen. John McCain in co-sponsoring a major climate change bill. He also pledged to mobilize an international coalition to help curb carbon emissions. viii On October 5, 2009, Obama signed Executive Order 13514, which set sustainability goals for Federal agency operations and directed agencies to improve environmental, energy and economic performance. Under this
Executive Order, each Federal agency is evaluating agency climate change risks and vulnerabilities to manage both the short- and long-term effects of climate change on the agency’s mission, programs, and operations.ix Romney Romney, who as Massachusetts’ Governor stood in front of a coal plant and said it “kills people,” launched a Climate Protection Plan in 2004 to reduce industrial greenhouse gas emissions as part of – using his words – a "no regrets" policy toward climate change.x "I believe we should pursue what I call a "No Regrets" policy – steps that will lead to lower emissions, but that will benefit America regardless of whether the risks of global warming materialize and regardless of whether other nations take effective action. For instance, I support robust government funding for research on efficient, low-emissions technologies that will maintain American leadership in emerging industries. And I believe the federal government must significantly streamline the regulatory framework for the deployment of new energy technologies, including a new wave of investment in nuclear power. These steps will strengthen American industry, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and produce the economically-attractive technologies that developing nations must have access to if they are to achieve the reductions in their own emissions that will be necessary to address what is a global issue," Romney said.xi Rather than establishing mandates, the United States should harness its power of innovation to enhance the alternative energy sources and discover technologies that will help use the energy more efficiently.xii “Cap and Trade” / Carbon Taxes Obama Since becoming president, Obama has backed federal cap-and-trade legislation that would use market-style mechanisms to ratchet down American emissions of greenhouse gases, especially on power plants. “As we move forward over the next several years, my hope is, is that the United States, as one of several countries with a big carbon footprint, can find further ways to reduce our carbon emissions,” Obama said in 2011.xiii As senator, Obama co-sponsored the McCain-Lieberman greenhouse gas cap-and-trade bill. As president, he supported the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill that passed the U.S. House of Representatives in 2009. xiv In addition to cap and trade, he has supported raising the CAFE standard (the government’s average fuel economy standard for car makers) as a way to reduce carbon emissions.xv Romney As Massachusetts’ Governor, his staff drafted the country's first interstate cap-and-trade system to cut emissions, known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative or RGGI. By the time RGGI was ready for his signature in late 2005, he had announced he wouldn't seek re-election, prompting speculation he might run for president. He declined to sign it, citing potential costs to state businesses. “I do not support radical feel-good policies like a unilateral U.S. cap-and-trade mandate.” xvi “Cap-and-trade is an energy tax, disguised in the sheep’s clothing of market terminology. And it is an energy tax that would have little or no effect on global warming.”xvii "I oppose steps like a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade system that would handicap the American economy and drive manufacturing jobs away, all without actually addressing the underlying problem. Economic growth and
technological innovation, not economy-suppressing regulation, is the key to environmental protection in the long run.” xviii International Global Warming Treaties Obama From 2009: “Every nation on this planet is at risk. And just as no one nation is responsible for climate change, no one nation can address it alone. That is why, back in April, I convened this forum of the world’s major economies – responsible for more than three-quarters of the world’s carbon pollution. And it is why we have gathered again here today.” xix “We are also showing international leadership on climate change, reaching historic agreements to set emission limits in unison with all major developed and developing nations.” xx Romney “Well, I think that one important principle that I want to make is this; we don't call it America Warming, we call it Global Warming. That being the case, I want to make sure that those discussions are held on a global basis. Not with an "OK what's America going to do?" and everybody else sits back and they're doing nothing. Now what was wrong with Kyoto is that it said "OK America, you put in place these caps, but China, who is now the biggest greenhouse gas emitter in the world, you don't have to do anything. I want China, and India… by the way, they're competing for our jobs. I don't want to put our employers and our employees costs which the Indians and the Chinese then don't have to pay which may our jobs even less competitive. I will work on a global basis to get other nations to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions in a way that is fair to us and the other people of the world.” xxi
AIR, WATER, and LAND
Air Quality Obama In 2010, the Obama Administration exercised their authority under the Clean Air Act (1970) to impose carbon dioxide limits on power plants and tighten fuel efficiency standards. However, in 2011 President Obama abandoned his plan to curb emissions. The Bush Administration limited total emissions to 75 parts per billion; under the Obama administration the EPA advised a plan to limit U.S emissions to 60-70 parts per billion. This would have thrown hundreds of areas out of compliance with the EPA.xxii Thus, Obama decided that it would impose too severe of a burden on industry and local government, much to the anger of environmentalists.xxii
In 2012 the Obama Administration announced new Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards through 2025. The standards call for a fleet efficiency average of 54.5 mpg by 2025, much to the praise of environmentalists. Considering roughly 70% of fossil fuels in the U.S. are used for transportation, this could greatly reduce overall oil consumption and improve air quality.xxiv
Romney Romney states that he wants to “overhaul outdated legislation.” Romney believes legislation like the Clean Air Act can work like a “self-inflicted wound” on our economy through regulation and “spurious litigation.” As President, Romney says he would “propose thoughtful and measured reforms of the statutory framework to preserve our environmental gains without paralyzing industry.” Romney argues that the Clean Air Act was intended to protect U.S. citizens against pollutants, not to control carbon-dioxide emissions, the chemical compound linked to global warming. Romney will work to remove carbon-dioxide from the Clean Air Act’s list of harmful emissions.xxv Romney opposes the new CAFE standards proposed by Obama (cited above), saying they are “extreme” and will raise the cost of a new car.xxvi
Water Quality Obama The Obama administration allocated $134 million for the 2009 stimulus bill for water conservation and reuse projects in the American West to promote better agricultural uses of water.xxvii In 2009 as part of the stimulus bill, the Obama administration provided $4 billion to the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and $2 billion to the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund. These programs both regulate water and water treatment.xxviii The Obama administration invested $775 million in the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI). The GLRI is designed to restore, improve, and maintain the chemical and biological conditions of the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes are seen as high importance to the Obama administration because they have 95% of the surface freshwater in the United States. xxix As President, Obama reinstated drinking water standards lowered by the Bush administration. Bush’s EPA had exempted Perchlorate (a chemical that can disrupt the thyroid’s ability to produce hormones) from federal regulation in the Safe Drinking Water Act. In 2011, under the Obama administration the EPA announced they would reinstate regulation of Percholrate under the Safe Drinking Water Act.xxx In May 2011, the Obama Administration and the EPA ordered Chicago to clean up the Chicago River so it was safe for “recreation in and on the water.” The river has long been heavily polluted by industrialization and human waste. Mayor Rahm Emanuel welcomed the effort. It is estimated cleanup will cost up to $1 billion.xxxi Romney As Governor of Massachusetts, Romney signed a law regulating mercury pollution in the state, to the praise of environmentalists. xxxii Romney argues legislation such as the Safe Drinking Water Act is out of date and has not been modernized in 20 years. Romney says his reform plan will “enable smarter, more collaborative, flexible, and more cost-effective approaches that welcome state and local participation.” This would make regulations
easier on economic development. He plans on doing this through incentive based programs, but does not give many specific details on how the programs would work.xxxiii Public Lands Obama In 2009 the Obama Administration helped pass the Omnibus Public Land Management Act (HR 146). According to the American Bird Conservancy, “The bill designates over two million acres of wilderness in nine states, enlarges fifteen National Parks, creates one new National Monument, ten new National Heritage Areas, three new National Conservation Areas, and four new National Trails, and designates more than 1,000 miles of National Wild and Scenic River.”xxxiv In March 2012 the Obama Administration released its proposal for 2013 public land acquisition through the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The proposal would use federal royalties from offshore oil and gas production, roughly $29 million, to improve public lands.xxxv Romney If Elected, the Romney Administration would like to permit oil drilling, natural gas drilling, and coal mining in the U.S. wherever it can be found and done safely; this includes all public lands and Wildlife Refuges, such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. This is all in his hopes to make the U.S. more energy independent.xxxvi
FOSSIL FUELS and DRILLING
Energy Independence Obama President Obama holds energy independence as a bottom-line necessity for the future of America. On June 14, 2006, he said, “Progressives are the folks who believe in energy independence for America… We can save our economy, our environment, and stop funding both sides of the war on terror if we actually get serious about doing something about energy. We understand that” (Ontheissues.org). The President proposes an ‘All of the Above’ plan to cut foreign oil dependency in half. In his speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, he said, “We’re offering a better path, a future where we keep investing in wind and solar and clean coal; where farmers and scientists harness new biofuels to power our cars and trucks. If you choose this path, we can cut our oil imports in half by 2020 and support more than 600,000 new jobs in natural gas alone” (Ontheissues.org). Romney Governor Romney promises North American energy independence by 2020: “A crucial component of my plan for a stronger middle class is to dramatically increase domestic energy production and partner closely with Canada and Mexico to achieve North American energy independence by 2020. While Obama has described his own energy policy as a ‘hodgepodge,’ sent billions of taxpayer dollars to green energy project run by political
cronies, rejected the Keystone XL Pipeline as not in the ‘national interest,’ and sought repeatedly to stall development of American’s domestic resources, my path forward would establish American as an energy superpower in the 21st Century” (Ontheissues.org). Fossil Fuel Production Obama At the second Obama-Romney Presidential debate on October 16, 2012, President Obama announced that we have increased U.S. oil production to its highest level in decades. Since his election in 2008, there have been increases in coal production and employment, a doubling of fuel efficiency standards, and the lowest oil imports in 16 years. (Ontheissues.org) “We have a supply of natural gas that can last America nearly 100 years, and my administration will take every possible action to safely develop this energy,” Obama said at the State of the Union Address in January 2012, along with the assurance that this production will supply more than 600,000 jobs by the end of the decade (Snyder). Romney Governor Romney pledges North American energy independence through a combination of policies that include state controlled fast-tracked permits for drilling leases, reduced regulation for faster innovation on energy projects, a 5 year leasing program to ‘aggressively’ pursue offshore energy development, signing into law the Keystone Pipeline project on day one of his administration. In the second Presidential debate on October 16, 2012, Governor Romney stated, “Oil production is down 14% this year on federal land, and gas production was down 9%. Because Obama cut in half the number of licenses and permits for drilling on federal lands, and in federal waters. Obama 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 the administration brought out a Migratory Bird Act to go after them on a criminal basis” (Ontheissues.org). Energy Standards Obama One of the President’s energy proposals, released on August 4, 2012, announced a goal to get “one million plug-in hybrids on the roads within 6 years” as well as to invest “$150 million *over the next ten years+ in developing renewable technologies, encouraging energy efficiency and catalyzing the next generation of clean vehicles to end our dependence on foreign oil and create up to 5 million new jobs” (Ontheissues.org). Obama says we cannot drill our way out of our energy issues. That is why he says it is so critical to create high fuel efficient cars in America, not abroad (Ontheissues.org). According to his website, “President Obama is doubling fuel efficiency standards, which will save consumers more than $8,000 at the pump, create jobs in the American automobile industry, and save 12 billion barrels of oil” (BarackObama.com/energy). President Obama has set a standard to raise fuel standards to 54.5 MPG by 2025. (Essi.org)
Romney In an interview with Wolf Blitzer of CNN, Romney said on energy standards: “Look at Washington. They gave the industry CAFE standards, which hurt. Some Senators are talking about a new form of tax on energy in this country, which would make it even harder on the domestic companies. And there’s nothing wrong with dealing with global warming. But, there is a big difference between talking about global warming, which requires global solutions, and the idea of America warming. No one talks about America warming. If we’re going to have solutions that deal, for instance, with a cap and trade program or a BTU tax or anything of that nature, it has to be global in its sweep. But, Senator McCain’s proposition is that we do this as American only. A unilateral effort would only cause higher costs here, and gibe the advantage to nations that already have a substantial cost advantage” (Ontheissues.org). Oil Subsidies Obama Obama said in the first Obama-Romney debate on October 3, 2012, “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. Now my attitude is, if you got a corporate jet, you can probably afford to pay full freight, not get a special break for it” (Ontheissues.org). The president vows to eliminate $40 billion of oil and gas tax breaks and incentives (Ontheissues.org). In his book, The Audacity of Hope, President Obama explained the problem with oil subsidies and what we can do to move on from them: “It is hard to overstate the degree to which our addiction to oil imports undermines our future. Without any change to energy policy, US demand for oil will jump $40% in 20 years. Over the same period, worldwide demand will jump 30%.We cannot drill our way out of the problem. Instead of subsidizing the oil industry, we should end every single tax break the industry currently receives and demand that 1% of the revenues from oil companies with over $1 billion in quarterly profits go toward financing alternative energy research and infrastructure” (Ontheissues.org). Obama said in the State of the Union Address in 2012: “We have subsided oil companies for a century. That’s long enough. It’s time to end the taxpayer giveaways to an industry that’s rarely been more profitable, and double-down on a clean energy policy that’s never been more promising” (Ontheissues.org). Romney Governor Romney said in the first Presidential debate on October 3, 2012, “The tax break for oil companies is $2.8 billion per year…. In one year *President Obama+ provided $90 billion in subsidies to the green energy world” (Ontheissues.org). Governor Romney has said, “I am a strong supporter of federally funded research. The answer to spending constraints is not to cut back on crucial investments in America’s future, but rather to spend money more wisely. Obama spent $90 billion in stimulus money in a failed attempt to promote his green energy agenda. Good public policy must also ensure that federal research is being amplified in the private sector, and that major breakthroughs are able to make the leap from the lab to the marketplace. Unfortunately, President Obama has pursued policies across a range of fields that will have the opposite effect” (Ontheissues.org).
Future of Drilling Obama As part of his strategy, Obama plans to open more offshore areas for drilling and to continue regulating these sites at the federal level, but also maintain moratorium off most the Pacific and Atlantic coasts. He also plans to keep leasing for drill sites at the federal level in order to ensure proper health, safety, and environmental conditions. Part of this plan includes his investment in clean energy and energy efficiency, which was the largest in United States history, and his ambitious Clean Energy Standard to generate 80 percent of our electricity from clean energy sources like wind, solar, clean coal and, natural gas by 2035 (Ontheissues.org). During the third Presidential debate on October 15, 2008, Obama shared his beliefs on how we can reduce our dependence on foreign oil in 10 years. The key, said the President, is his ‘All of the Above’ strategy, including a continued increase in domestic oil production and regulation: “We need to expand domestic production and that means telling the oil companies the 68 million acres that they currently have leased that they’re not drilling, use them or lose them” (Ontheissues.org). Romney Governor Romney said in his book, No Apology, “As the first element of my plan for energy independence, I have proposed giving states authority to manage the development of energy resources within their borders, including on federal lands. States have crafted highly efficient and effecting permitting and regulatory programs that address state specific needs. While the federal government takes an average of 307 days to permit the drilling of an oil well on federal land, the state of North Dakota can permit a project in 10 days. Colorado does it in 27. Nor do these processes pose any greater environmental risks. To the contrary, states are far better able to develop, adopt and enforce regulations” (Ontheissues.org). Keystone Pipeline Obama Obama has approved the southern leg of the Keystone Pipeline, but remains undecided about northern leg and is weighing the environmental costs of the project, especially in regions like Nebraska, where reservoirs may be at risk to the pipeline’s construction (Essi.org) Romney He plans to sign Keystone XL Pipeline Act into law on very first day of administration as part of his aggressive exploitation of oil in creating North American independence on foreign oil (Essi.org). Mitt Romney vowed that, if elected president, he would build the controversial Keystone Pipeline linking oil deposits in Canada to refineries on the Texas gulf coast. “I will build that pipeline if I have to do it myself,” Romney said in a speech before state Republican Party leaders gathered at a retreat in Arizona (ABC News). “I will increase production... I will permit access to our resources in the Gulf of Mexico, the Outer Continental Shelf, western lands and the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge. I also will partner closely with our neighbors. Canada and Mexico have extraordinary resources of their own that can provide secure, reliable supplies for our economy. This starts with my approval of the Keystone XL pipeline on Day One. (AboutMittRomney.com)
ANWR (Arctic National Wildlife Refuge) Obama While in the Senate in 2005, Obama voted against an oil leasing program in Alaska’s ANWR (ontheissues.org). When asked how he would push greater fuel economy from auto makers during the Illinois Senate Debate on October 26, 2004, President Obama stated, “We could save as much, in terms of our fuel, if we increased our fuel efficiency standards, as we would from getting Alaska drilling going immediately…*We should be+ thinking about how, not only, we can develop alternative fuels now but also how can we conserve energy and increase efficiencies available right now but have not been invested in” (Ontheissues.org) Obama said on September 12, 2008, “U.S. oil and gas production plays an important role in our domestic economy and remains critical to prevent global energy prices from climbing even higher. There are several key opportunities to support increased U.S. production of oil and gas that do not require opening up currently protected areas.” He continued, “What wouldn’t do a thing to lower gas prices is to open up ANWR and Florida’s coastline to drilling. It would have long term consequences for our environment but no short term benefits since it would take at least 10 years to get any oil” (Limjunying). Romney Favors opening for drilling as part of plan to utilize all federal lands and waters for oil exploitation (MNN.com). Romney said at the 2007 GOP debate at Saint Anselm College, “We need, as a strategic imperative, energy independence for America. And it takes that Apollo project. It also takes biodiesel, biofuel, cellulosic ethanol, nuclear power, more drilling in ANWR. We have to be serious also about efficiency and that’s going to allow us to become energy independent” (Ontheissues.org). He has also said, “To remain the economic and military superpower, America must address achieving energy independence. We must become independent from foreign sources of oil. This will mean a combination of efforts related to conservation and efficiency measures, developing alternative sources of energy like biodiesel, ethanol, nuclear, and coal gasification, and finding more domestic sources such as ANWR or the Outer Continental Shelf” (Ontheissues.org). Alternative Energy Research Obama As the President announced at his 2012 State of the Union speech, even with the lowest imports and highest production in 16 years, sitting on only 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves is not enough. That is why Obama proposes the ‘All of the Above’ strategy: to develop every source of American energy that is cleaner, cheaper, and full of new jobs. One important step here is to promote green energy. One of the President’s energy proposals, released on August 4, 2012, announced a goal to get “one million plug-in hybrids on the roads within 6 years” as well as to invest “$150 million *over the next ten years+ in developing renewable technologies, encouraging energy efficiency and catalyzing the next generation of clean vehicles to end our dependence on foreign oil and create up to 5 million new jobs” (Ontheissues.org). In his book, The Audacity of Hope, Obama proposes using government funds to give a kick-start to the much needed alternative energy sources that we have just begun to innovate, “Instead of subsidizing the oil industry, we should end every single tax break the industry currently receives and demand that 1% of the revenues
from oil companies with over $1 billion in quarterly profits go toward financing alternative energy research and infrastructure”. (Ontheissues.org). Romney In an interview with Fox News in January , 2008, Romney said on government spending for energy research and car technology, “We spend about $4 billion a year right now on energy research to try and help us become less energy dependent on foreign sources. And I think over the coming years we need to increase our investment to become energy independent from about $4 billion a year to about $20 billion a year. Obviously, that has got to grow gradually because there are not a lot of places now that do that kind of research we need to do to get ourselves energy independent. But that’s not just to bail out the automobile industry. That’s not what I have in mind. I’m not looking for a bailout at all. Instead, it’s saying that where we invest, we tend to do very well” (Ontheissues.org (Romney)).
Works Cited in Fossil Fuel Section “Mitt Romney's Energy Platform.” N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Oct. 2012. <http://aboutmittromney.com/energy.htm>. Bailey, Holly. “Romney: I'll Build Keystone Pipeline…” ABC News Network, 21 Apr. 2012. Web. 31 Oct. 2012. <http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/OTUS/romney-build-keystone-pipeline/story?id=16183744>. “Barack Obama on Oil Energy and Oil." Ontheissues.org. N.p., n.d. Web. <http://www.ontheissues.org/2012/ barack_obama_Energy_+_Oil.htm>. “Energy_ _Oil.htm.” N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Oct. 2012. <http://www.ontheissues.org/Energy_+_Oil.htm>. “Energy.” BarackObama.com. N.p., n.d. Web. <http:/www.barackobama.com/energy>. “Environmental and Energy Study Institute.” Obama and Romney on Energy Issues. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Oct. 2012. <http://www.eesi.org/obama-and-romney-energy-issues-20-sep-2012>. “The Green Guy.” N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Oct. 2012. <http://limjunying.wordpress.com/2008/09/19/obama-versus -mccain-on-offshore-drilling-anwr/>. “MNN BLOGGERS.” Mother Nature Network. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Oct. 2012. <http://www.mnn.com/earthmatters/politics/blogs/obama-romney-clash-over-energy-issues>. Snyder, Jim. “Obama Pushes Fracking to Create 600,000 Jobs.” BusinessWeek.com. N.p., n.d. Web. <http:// www.businessweek.com/news/2012-01-29/obama-pushes-natural-gas-fracking-to-create-600-000-jobs.html>
Summary Obama The Obama Administration's energy policy is referred to as the "All of the Above" strategy, and it emphasizes renewables while acknowledging the reality of their limitations. The President espouses continuing to exploit domestic fossil fuels (including offshore drilling, “fracking,” clean coal, and all available non-renewables), while continuing to fund R&D efforts to improve renewable energy. Romney Romney's plan is entitled "Energy Independence by 2020" and pushes for continued use of domestic nonrenewables while weaning ourselves off of foreign energy, in an effort to increase domestic jobs and reduce dependence on foreign powers. The Romney campaign recognizes the possibilities of renewable energies, but believes in allowing market forces to set their growth, and to control (but not eliminate) government spending on renewable energy research and development (R&D). Wind Obama Wind power is a big weapon in the administration's energy arsenal: 32% of new American energy growth in 2011 came from growth in the wind energy grid. The administration is pushing further investment (i.e. wind credits and research funds) for domestic wind energy at the federal level. "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." - Barack Obama Romney The Romney campaign also supports wind energy but believes subsidies for wind have been successful and now needs to end. Romney supports the idea that wind energy is now ready to stand on its merits, and the federal government should no longer subsidize wind energy development. "We think these tax credits are important to get industries up and running, but we don't think they should continue on indefinitely. What we think would be more helpful for all renewable energies is to lower tax rates on businesses." - Paul Ryan, vice presidential candidate Solar Obama The current push in the Obama administration is new funding for research and development (R&D) for solar energy, specifically the SunShot program, which gives grants for research to create cheaper solar generators.
“Developing America’s solar energy resources is an important part of President Obama’s commitment to expanding American-made energy, increasing energy security, and creating jobs.” - Steven Chu, Energy Secretary
Romney The Romney campaign's 2020 plan focuses on domestic fossil fuels. While Romney believes that solar energy has potential, in his “white paper” on energy, Romney states his belief that renewable energies have to stand on their own economic power, while being developed under the same laws that protect fossil fuel industries. "Instead of distorting the playing field, the government should be ensuring that it remains level. The same policies that will open access to land for oil, gas, and coal development can also open access for the construction of [solar facilities]." - Romney White Paper on Energy
Ethanol Obama In August, with the drought situation in the United States, a bi-partisan group of 25 U.S. senators asked the Obama administration to review the current mandate for biofuels, and to reduce the requirements for fossil fuels in U.S. gasoline. The Administration is currently reviewing current ethanol policy, and as of yet has no direct response, except to reiterate support. To date, Obama has supported biofuels. "I've long been a strong supporter of the RFS [Renewable Fuel Standard]," Obama said during a brief telephone call to members of the National Farmers Union. "I am strongly committed to advancing biofuels as a key component of reducing our dependence on foreign oil." -Barack Obama, 2008 speech “He absolutely believes in it [ethanol] — he thinks it’s a driver of the economy here and a key component of renewable energy.” -Jennifer Psaki, Obama campaign spokeswoman, 2012 Romney The Romney energy plan set forth in the campaign's “white Paper” states that Romney plans to protect the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) signed into law by George Bush, which mandates up to 13 billion gallons of grain-based fuel to be blended into gasoline. The Romney campaign supports the status quo on ethanol and renewable fuels, as well as reducing current regulations on the industry. "[The plan would] support increased market penetration and competition among energy sources by maintaining the RFS and eliminating regulatory barriers." -Romney White Paper on Energy
Footnotes: Global Warming & Air/Water/Land Sections
i. http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2012/10/29/obama-romney-climate-energy-records/1654979/ ii. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/09/22/obama-un-climate-change-s_n_294628.html - Nov. 22, 2009 speech to UN iii. Romney, Mitt. No Apology: The Case for American Greatness. New York: St. Martin's, 2010. Print. 227. iv. http://www.sciencedebate.org/debate12/ v. http://www.sciencedebate.org/debate12/ vi. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/heather-taylormiesle/the-many-faces-of-mitt-ro_b_2005565.html vii. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/heather-taylormiesle/the-many-faces-of-mitt-ro_b_2005565.html viii. http://www.csmonitor.com/layout/set/print/USA/DC-Decoder/2012/0905/Obama-vs.-Romney-101-4-ways-theydiffer-on-climate-change/Is-climate-change-a-real-problem-and-is-it-manmade ix. http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ceq/initiatives/adaptation x. http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2012/10/29/obama-romney-climate-energy-records/1654979/ xi. http://content.usatoday.com/communities/sciencefair/post/2012/09/romney-climate-views-examined-in-sciencedebate/ xii. http://2012.republican-candidates.org/Romney/Environment.php xiii. http://www.csmonitor.com/layout/set/print/USA/DC-Decoder/2012/0905/Obama-vs.-Romney-101-4-ways-theydiffer-on-climate-change/Is-climate-change-a-real-problem-and-is-it-manmade xiv. http://www.c2es.org/publications/candidates-climate-energy-guide-key-policy-positions-president-obama-governorromney xv. http://www.ontheissues.org/Barack_Obama.htm xvi. Romney, Mitt. No Apology: The Case for American Greatness. New York: St. Martin's, 2010. Print. 227. xvii. Ibid., 226 xviii. Quote of statement on sciencedebate.org highlighted in http://www.huffingtonpost.com/heather-taylormiesle/themany-faces-of-mitt-ro_b_2005565.html xix. http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/FACT-SHEET-Meeting-the-International-Clean-Energy-and-ClimateChange-Challenges/ xx. http://www.sciencedebate.org/debate12/ xxi. http://www.thepoliticalguide.com/Profiles/Governor/Massachusetts/Mitt_Romney/Views/ Energy_and_the_Environment/ xxii. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-08-21/u-s-appeals-court-overturns-cross-state-air-pollution-rule.html xxiii. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/03/science/earth/03air.html?pagewanted=all xxiv. http://www.pjstar.com/opinion/spotlight/x2143895848/In-the-Spotlight-Obamas-war-on-fossil-fuels xxv. http://www.mittromney.com/sites/default/files/shared/Energy.pdf xxvi. http://bottomline.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/08/28/13527985-obama-raising-fuel-standard-to-average-545-mpgby-2025?lite xxvii. http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ceq/clean_water_framework.pdf xxviii. http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/obameter/promise/263/improve-water-quality/ xxix. http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ceq/clean_water_framework.pdf xxx. http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/obameter/promise/263/improve-water-quality/ xxxi. http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-05-12/travel/ct-met-chicago-river-swimming-20110512_1_epa-ordersclean-water-act-chicago-river xxxii. http://www.healthytomorrow.org/history-and-accomplishments/ xxxiii. http://www.ontheissues.org/2012/Mitt_Romney_Environment.htm xxxiv. http://www.abcbirds.org/newsandreports/stories/090330.html xxxv. http://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/2009/03/30/obama_signs_major_land_conserv.html; http://missoulian.com/news/local/obama-proposes-m-in-montana-land-conservation-projects/article_65a6d77e-68d411e1-a6eb-0019bb2963f4.html xxxvi. Conserve our lands, don't vote for Romney | The Coloradoan | coloradoan.com; http://www.mittromney.com/sites/default/files/shared/Energy.pdf