In his 2010 book “No Apology,” former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney maps out the issue of America’s energy policy, in a chapter titled “Running Low.” In his writings, Romney recaps the current situation regarding our nation’s dependence on foreign oil and the dangers it poses to our national security, economic stability and our overall liberty as free people. Romney asserts the following as the premier risks involved in being reliant on non-US energy supplies:
- “From a foreign policy perspective, our addiction to foreign oil necessitates a massive military presence in the Middle East, and it has contributed to involving us, like it or not, in ancient and seemingly intractable conflicts.”
- Romney goes on to cite other perils of relying on Mid East oil, such as profits from oil being used to fund terrorism, development of destructive weaponry, selling advanced technology to unsuitable parties, such as Iran and ultimately leading to war, as in the 1992 Iraq War.
- Non-Mid East dependence is also a risk in Romney’s view, pinpointing the efforts of Venezuela, as led by Hugo Chavez, to “supplant democracy throughout Latin America” via the wealth his oil exploitation provides. In Romney’s view, Chavez’ “verbal buffoonery” is eclipsed by his megalomania and menacing of freedom.
- Domestically, Romney states the US “spends $200 billion per year importing oil from other nations.” Citing the high cost of producing energy at home, it’s good business policy for American companies to import, as you want to by the product as cheaply as possible. To remedy this situation, Romney would reverse the cost equation by spending money on producing domestic energy supplies.
- Romney advocates the development of all our energy sources, nuclear, oil, natural gas and coal. “One of the great disappointments of the so-called stimulus package of 2009 was that we spent nearly a trillion dollars and have no new energy production facilities to show for it.”
In seeking a substitute for foreign oil, Romney cites many folks concerned with both environmental issues and energy independence, agree we should be looking to develop the renewable sources of energy – “wind, solar and agriculture based fuels” – but notes when it comes to nuclear power, coal and domestic drilling of oil, they part ways.
Romney calls nuclear power a win-win, as it generates zero green-house gas emissions, is cost efficient –once the severe regulatory controls are eased and remarkably safe. Even after the serious situation in Japan, Romney has maintained a position of being very pro-nuclear power. Romney believes the reliance on foreign oil poses greater risks to the economy, our security and freedom, than the risks posed by nuclear power.
Regarding both coal and natural gas – one with potential negative environmental effects the other with out – Romney calls for utilizing both. Technological storage solutions are currently being used in coal fuel usage, allowing the partial use and underground storage of coal’s carbon dioxide emissions. Romney cites further development of these procedures as top priorities. Natural gas is a fuel Romney says “everyone can love” due to it’s abundance, cheap cost and clean usage. According to Romney, “America should be building gas pipe-lines as quickly as possible.”
Romney is both enthused and concerned about the prospects of opening up domestic drilling for oil. He acknowledges the great potential of these reserves in Alaska, offshore our coasts and in mountain state wilderness areas. Romney also realistically sees opposition to utilizing these areas comes from not from the residents of these areas, who support the drilling, but from environmental groups who “oppose it on general grounds, not matter how sensitively the oil extraction can be carried out.”
Romney is concerned however, the rush to drill, to and use these reserves would lead us back to an oil dependency at ever greater cost, due to a lack of prudence and frugality. This largely stems from the uncertain amount of oil available in these newly discovered areas. He calls for carefully metering out these supplies, in order to provide a price check and an alternative to foreign providers, until the depth of out potential is fully realized. Romney sees these new sources of oil as a “supersize strategic oil reserve” in which to mitigate the power of non-US energy providers.
“Given the decade or longer lead times that are often required to produce oil, it would take years to significantly expand production, but in the near term, the presence and potential of these reserves – and America’s willingness to exploit them – would have a stabilizing effect on world oil prices. The right step is to get started by authorizing exploration and infrastructure construction.”
As his near certain 2012 Presidential campaign continues to take shape and energy prices continuing to increase at the pump, Energy policy will be one of the many issues Republican Primary and General Election voters will be focusing on. Its apparent Mitt Romney has already spent some considerable doing just that.
-Doug NYC GOP
Addendum by Nate: Sorry to butt in here on Doug’s excellent post, but I’d like to make our readers aware of our issues page concerning energy (compiled by Dave P.) It has additional quotes, videos, etc, in regards to Romney and energy independence. You can find it here: Mitt Romney on Energy