Obama, Romney Respond To AJC Poll: Question 7 (Energy)

The American Jewish Committee has posted answers to President Obama’s and Mitt Romney’s responses to a questionnaire from the organization.

Six questions have been posted so far. Question 7 follows below. The remaining questions and the responses from the two candidates will be posted daily over the next few days. Stay tuned.

Question 7: As some of the world’s largest oil exporters display hostility to American interests, as oil prices rise, and as many scientists continue to warn about climate change, the need for a solution to our nation’s energy crisis becomes more pressing by the day. How would you address our dependence on foreign oil? What are viable, long-term solutions? What role should alternative energy and efficiency solutions play in this plan? What about exploration and development of domestic sources of energy, and importation of those resources from friendly neighbors?

Response from President Obama

While there are no silver bullets to the problem of high oil and gas prices, my administration’s all-of-the-above energy strategy is helping to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, helping families save at the pump and creating an economy that’s built to last by out-innovating our competitors around the world. We can’t just drill our way to lower energy prices and we won’t solve this problem overnight. That’s why I’m focused on an all-of-the-above energy strategy to developing all of America’s natural resources – including domestic oil, gas, wind, solar, clean coal, and biofuels – and encouraging efficiency so that we can reduce our dependence on foreign oil over time.

In my convention speech, I laid out a real, achievable plan that will lead to new jobs and more opportunities for middle-class Americans, while rebuilding the economy on a stronger foundation. Two of the energy goals that I announced were to cut our oil imports in half by 2020 and support more than 600,000 new jobs in natural gas alone. Oil and gas development has increased every year of my administration and our dependence on foreign oil is now at a 20-year low. We’ve opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration in the last three years, and we’ll open more. We are speeding up the leasing process and improving safety measures to prevent future spills. A revolution in natural gas production helped us become the world’s leading producer of natural gas in 2009. I will continue to take every possible action to safely develop this abundant source of American energy: streamlining the oversight of natural gas permitting, improving access to natural gas fuels along heavily trafficked trucking routes, helping convert municipal bus and truck fleets to run on natural gas, and creating a new tax incentive for medium- and heavy-duty trucks that run on natural gas or other alternative fuels.

My administration has also made record gains in clean energy development. I have also proposed an ambitious clean energy standard for America to generate 80 percent of our electricity from a diverse set of clean energy sources by 2035 and we are making concrete progress.

We have tripled the government’s investment in clean energy sectors such as the smart power grid, energy efficiency, and renewable power, which has supported 224,500 jobs and spurred development across the country. After thirty years of inaction, we raised fuel standards so that by the middle of the next decade, cars and trucks will go twice as far on a gallon of gas. That will help to save families more than $8,000 per vehicle at the pump and decrease our oil consumption by an estimated 2.2 million barrels a day. We’ve doubled our use of renewable energy like wind and solar, and thousands of Americans have jobs today building wind turbines and long-lasting batteries. We are spurring the nation’s transition to a smarter, stronger, more efficient and reliable electricity system. And we are supporting public-private partnerships to make homes, appliances and everyday technologies more energy efficient and less expensive to use. We are boosting our use of cleaner fuels, including increasing the level of ethanol that can be blended into gasoline and implementing a new Renewable Fuel Standard that will save nearly 14 billion gallons of oil-based gasoline in 2022.

I believe in an all-out, all-of-the-above approach to expanding domestic energy production. It takes all of our domestic resources to increase our energy security. Now voters have a choice – between a strategy that reverses this progress, or one that builds on it. Unlike my opponent, I will not let oil companies write this country’s energy plan, or endanger our coastlines, or collect another $4 billion in corporate welfare from our taxpayers. We’re investing in a clean energy future that keep good paying jobs here at home and puts this country on a path to energy independence.

Response from Governor Mitt Romney

  • The United States is blessed with an abundance of energy resources. Developing them has been a pathway to prosperity for the nation in the past and offers similar promise for the future. As president, I will make every effort to promote policies that will make America an energy superpower.
  • We rightly think about energy as a national-security issue, and I believe that the imperatives of national security and economic policy work in tandem. If instead of sending hundreds of billions of dollars overseas, we reinvest them right here at home, the nation as a whole will experience the economic benefits that we currently see other countries enjoying at our expense. Lessening our dangerous dependence on unstable OPEC oil supplies by both increasing domestic production and accessing more energy from our North American neighbors would strengthen our national security and the economy in many other ways. At a time of record budget deficits, greater domestic supplies would generate hundreds of billions of dollars in revenues, improve America’s trade balance and GDP and strengthen the dollar.
  • We need to take a rational and streamlined approach to regulation, to facilitate the rapid development of our domestic oil, natural gas and coal resources, and encourage investment in nuclear and alternative energies. This will require a 21st century regulatory framework – one that balances both our energy and environmental objectives, using the most innovative, cost-effective solutions available. I will propose measured reforms of the statutory framework to preserve our environmental gains without paralyzing industry and destroying jobs. I will ensure that the cost of new regulation is always considered and establish reasonable timelines for compliance.
  • Our ability to develop new technologies has always kept America in the lead and there is a government role to play in innovation in the energy industry. History shows that the United States has moved forward in astonishing ways thanks to national investment in basic research and advanced technology, but we should not be in the business of steering investment toward particular politically favored approaches. From the perspective of creating new jobs and strengthening our economy, the main line of policy should be directed toward technologies that will improve our nation’s energy self-sufficiency.
  • The world needs energy, and the United States is in a position to produce it more cleanly and safely than any other nation. Getting our energy policy right is critical to our country’s economic future. We have the natural resources to succeed, and more importantly, we have scientific and engineering talent that is unsurpassed the world over. What we’ve lacked is a clear recognition that tying up our resources and shackling our enterprises is costing us dearly in every important arena. The bad news is that self-defeating policies have left us less secure as a country and weakened our economy. The good news is: we can change. I intend to lead the way.


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