Ecocentric

The Romney Energy Plan: Drill, Baby, Drill — Again

The soon-to-be Republican nominee offers a familiar — and ineffective — mix of stepping up production and standing down on the environment

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Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney greets coal miners during a campaign rally at American Energy Corporation in Beallsville, Ohio, Aug. 14, 2012.

The start of the Republican national convention in Tampa was delayed at least a day due to Tropical Storm Isaac, churning around the Florida Keys and headed for the Gulf Coast. Tampa was fortunate enough to avoid a direct hit — though the buckets of rain the storm dumped in its path threatened to turn the Florida city into a tropical aquarium. But New Orleans and much of the rest of the Gulf Coast may not be so lucky. Already the effect of the storm is being felt by the  oil and gas industry in the Gulf of Mexico itself, where refineries and rigs alike could be at risk from Isaac. The Interior Department estimates that 78% of Gulf oil production has been halted ahead of the storm. As the Gulf is still responsible for almost a quarter of total U.S. oil output, the temporary closure has already pushed gas prices up by more than 2%.

In all likelihood, Isaac will  prove only a minor inconvenience to the Republican convention, but the storm and its likely economic effects provide a valuable backdrop for considering the energy policies of soon-to-no-longer-be-just-presumptive GOP Presidential nominee Mitt Romney. In a speech he gave in New Mexico last week — and a white paper the campaign published on August 23 — Romney outlined an energy vision built around two things: domestic oil and domestic natural gas. Romney promised to boost U.S. fossil fuel production by de-emphasizing federal environmental regulations for drilling, and empowering individual states to do as they will with their energy riches. If Alaska or Montana or Virginia wanted to drill for oil and gas within their borders — or along their shoreline — a President Romney wouldn’t let the federal government get in the way.

(READ: Believe in Global Warming Now?)

Romney claims those changes will help make the U.S. energy independent by 2020, thanks largely to vastly increased domestic oil production, with the only imports coming from North American allies Canada and Mexico. That prediction depends heavily on the shale oil revolution in states like Texas and North Dakota continuing to grow. Along with oil sands crude from Canada — Romney is in favor of the Keystone XL pipeline that President Obama temporarily rejected earlier this year — Romney believes oil production throughout all of North America can more than double from 15 million barrels a day over the next decade. “The net net of all this, as you can see, is by 2020, we’re able to produce somewhere between 28 million barrels per day of oil and we won’t need to buy any oil from the Middle East or Venezuela or anywhere else we don’t want to,” Romney said in New Mexico last week.

Is Romney’s goal realistic? It’s a long shot. The U.S. produced 5.7 million barrels of oil a day in 2011, a number that has been growing in recent years — awkwardly for Romney, since those are the same years  President Obama has been in office. But even though a mini-oil boom is underway in the U.S., current domestic production is still well beneath the 10 million barrel a day peak of the late 1960s, simply because so many of the old oil fields in Alaska and the Gulf have been tapped out. Even with greatly increased imports from other North American countries, it would likely take a miracle to get domestic oil production online with what Romney is promising. And while shifting control over oil and gas permitting to the states — a reversal of more than a hundred years of federal law — would likely speed up drilling, it would almost certainly come at an environmental cost. It’s only been a little more than two years since the Gulf of Mexico oil spill — even if it feels a lot longer — and taking regulators off the jobs seems like a good way to ensure a new accident.

But what’s really wrong with Romney’s energy plan is the goal itself. Romney trumpets energy independence as a way to kick-start the economy and reduce costs for the middle class, but as long as the U.S. remains overwhelmingly reliant on oil, the country won’t be independent — wherever that oil comes from. Crude is traded on a global market, and there’s little to no hometown discount. That’s why a supply disruption causes gas prices to go up, whether that disruption is happening in a Mideast exporting nation we can’t stand or in our own backyard in the Gulf of Mexico. Shifting more of our oil imports from Saudi Arabia to Canada might be good for politics, but don’t expect it to do much to relieve the pain at the pump. The Canadians, after all, aren’t interested in cutting us a North American discount. It’s true we’ve been pumping more oil at home over the past few years, but that’s done little to reduce the price of gas, which is now more expensive than it has ever been at this point in the calendar. What was true in 2008 is true now — we can’t “drill, baby, drill” our way to cheap energy.

That isn’t to say that the next President shouldn’t try to increase domestic oil production. More U.S. oil means lower imports, which is good for the economy and good for the trade deficit. But there should be more to energy policy than just drilling. Reducing America’s disproportionately huge demand for oil — the U.S. holds less than 3% of the world’s crude reserves but consumes more than 20% of the global supply— is at least as important as increasing supply. President Obama can claim that he’s tried to moderate demand, pushing through significant increases in U.S. fuel economy standards. Romney, though, opposes those fuel efficiency standards, just as he opposes increased aid for solar, wind and other alternatives — with the Iowa-friendly, politically expedient exception of biofuels — that might help the U.S. break its dependency on oil. It’s a blueprint for addiction — not independence.

MORE: Inside New York City’s Bicycle Wars

121 comments
Eric Ryan
Eric Ryan

I like this concept of reducing the demand as opposed to just increasing domestic supply. One is addressing the root of the problem, being proactive, and the other is just covering up, being reactive. Learn more about the natural gas we have in shale at shalestuff.com

SteveEV
SteveEV

President Bush warned us our nation is addicted to oil. Mr. Romney has proposed to close all the rehab centers.

StephenWV
StephenWV

The economy world wide is in the hopper.  Expensive energy is sapping money from the consumer that would otherwise be spent driving the economy to purchase goods and services that would create jobs.

The potential additional oil production capacity in the US is about 10 million barrels per day.  That is double the current US output.  When there is one or 2 million barrel per day disruption...short term... in world production, the price sky rockets.  Add 10 million barrels per day and the price will retreat to the 1990's levels.

For every $1 drop in the price of gas in the US alone, there is $200 billion added to the buying power of the consumers to drive the economy.  That is a $200 billion stimulus without any government deficit, dollar weakening spending.  Each year.

Add to that the stimulus of lowered prices of all petroleum related costs... World Wide... and you have a multi trillion dollar world wide stimulus ... without any government spending... to drive the economy creating jobs, higher wages and prosperity.

Once the economic situation is righted, and too many people are making too much money, causing inflation, THEN suck money out of the economy to cool off inflation, by spending a fortune to develop alternative energy sources.

RealityBitesU
RealityBitesU

Romney has no plan - But I do....

You want real job growth, real

wealth creation and a real GDP growth?

An area 10 miles by 10 miles covered

with photovoltaic cells (solar cells/PV) provides enough energy to power the

entire USA. (It could easily be a collection of points, a few miles here and

there, or house by house) This size has been estimated using the older less

efficient silicon PV's. There are much newer and more efficient and less

expensive kinds on the market today. (i.e., Aleo Solar, thin-film) 

Economically and climate wise it all makes sense. Think of it from an economic

standpoint, no more continued shelling out of money by you to big energy

companies who should be moving on anyway to new ventures with that great capital

they hold. (These new ventures by the energy companies using their great

capital would also help in creating new opportunities, growing the economy, and

creating more jobs.) No more money taking flight to foreign owned oil and gas companies

and multinationals. No reason for any “fracking”. The continued expense and

drain on one's individual budget would evaporate. with, while not free, very

inexpensive energy, like the TVA did for the rural south. This would increase

the wealth of all individual Americans. JOBS? Putting it together is the first

great set of jobs to be created, then we can spend our money on repairing our

infrastructure (more jobs) instead of spending our wealth on a product that can

be replaced by free sunlight. It

would also stop a lot of the awful air pollution and attendant health costs

associated with that. Instead money is being spent on propaganda campaigns and

political campaigns by interested parties to continue the status quo such as

the Romney plan, “Drill baby drill”.

Want more jobs? Build homes as

passive homes as they are doing in Germany, which use extremely small amounts of energy to heat or cool. It is done with

insulation. As we move in that direction we are creating huge amounts of

construction and manufacturing jobs and once again getting away from using needless

costly polluting climate destroying fuels.

How about the auto industry and jobs? People talk about the

electric car, Did you know;

In 1996 in the NESEA American Tour

de Sol, the Solectria Sunrise got 375 miles per charge, Ford’s Ecostar got 227

miles per charge, GM's EV-1 got 125 miles per charge. Nearly 20 years later

they've actually regressed!?! !  Why? What industry has an interest

adverse to the electric car industry?  It

would be easy to make an EV that is coated with thin-film PV so it is always

charging the batteries and ultracapacitors anytime any light, direct or indirect, is present, (Aleo Solar thinfilm PV

works equally well on indirect light because it operates off of infrared, it

pays back for itself in 2-3 years and lasts 17 years and the active elements

are fully recoverable recyclable for re-use.) This EV would also have

generators placed in certain wheels so electricity is also produced and fed

back into the power source anytime the wheels move, (the free moving wheels

containing generators (high efficient DC permanent magnet dynamo generator)  are rolling along with the large already

moving mass of the vehicle moved as a means of transport);  regenerative

braking (AC magnetic field induced low efficient generator) would also

recapture energy and also feed electricity back into the onboard recharging

system; the power saving system used in the Solectria Sunrise and light weight

could be used and power saving ultracapacitors i.e., Maxwell Technologies',

would also be employed during acceleration greatly extending  the battery

charge up to 15 times and of course further extending the range. You could also

use the Altairnano Nanosafe batteries which already provide 240 miles per

charge, charge in 10 minutes, operate in extreme temperatures, do not overheat

and last over 15,000 recharges. This EV would rarely need recharging by an

outlet because it is almost always trickle recharging through other means,

especially the PV. Think of the world-wide market for such a vehicle replacing

most existing vehicles and the money and wealth it would put into the hands of

consumers and the worldwide economy because they are not paying for gas or much

electricity. And, of course, the effect it would have on reducing climate

change and air pollution. Think of all the jobs it would create in making all

these vehicles. Even conversion companies would start up more jobs.

In the early 1930’s a very efficient way to burn gasoline as fuel was

developed.

Heated gasoline fumes have a much

greater efficiency/burn/conversion rate than merely sprayed/vaporized gasoline

droplets. Using raw gasoline before the introduction of additives, in the early

1930's Charles Nelson Pogue developed a carbeurator and with Henry Ford, yes,

that Henry Ford, demonstrated it before the world with a vehicle that attained

200 miles per gallon mileage. It has been duplicated since.  Oil stocks

convulsed. Mr. Ford died shortly afterwards and the carbeurator was never

placed into his vehicles. Much effort has been put into hiding and distorting

and "debunking" this historical fact of Mr. Pogue’s carbeurator , web

pages are still put out attacking it, but, newspaper coverage of it still

exists on file and has been scanned into certain websites, as well as copies of

the U.S. Patents issued.  I find best info on the back pages of a Google

search. Sometimes the trolls have placed so much junk they fill up the early

search pages.

We need some real movement and vision and

commitment here, unfortunately this Congress and many self-serving business

interests are more interested in maintaining the status quo and political power than in the furtherance of civilization.

manapp99
manapp99

We should switch to natural gas to power our vehicles and nuclear and clean coal to power our electrical needs. This will create millions of great paying jobs in mining, drilling and building. It will also reduce the amount of oil we need. Remember that oil is used widely in manufacturing everything from plastics to drugs. We can indeed be energy independent by 2020 if the left wing and environmentalists would cease trying to block every attempt we make in this endeavour. Cheap energy that is not subject to global tension would also incentivise world wide business to locate here. If we do not utilize the resources we own in abundance history will show our economic collapse as entirely preventable.   

realheadline
realheadline

It's Time to grow up a little, Mr. Walsh. As a matter of fact, the political 'Green' movement is a crony capitalist power grab of the energy markets, supported by useful idiots like yourself. These people grow rich at the expense of the poor. Windmills, solar panels and other novelty energy sources only drive up energy costs for those who can least afford it, and in the long run cause death and poverty for some while enriching the politically connected. Get off your high-horse son, you should hang your head in shame for your part in this scam.

horedog
horedog

YOU know nothing about me So kiss my ass

Donald Franck
Donald Franck

I wonder if the miners were happy that it was mandatory they show up for this and had to lose a day's pay ... they lost 20% of their weekly paycheck to attend this.

Useyourheadnow
Useyourheadnow

It's a little sad that Time's science and space section has decided to tackle the issue of the 2012 election by throwing their support behind the absent landlord, Barack Obummer. So much for unbiased reporting, this is just another propaganda piece with the BO seal of approval.

pc1397
pc1397

The photo and caption at the head of the article speaks volumes. Backward-looking, closed-minded. COAL for God's sake. You would think this is the 19th century.

JohnOBX
JohnOBX

Ever notice how Republican policy points are conveniently sized to fit on a bumper sticker?  

btao
btao

Unfortunately for the American voters, understanding the impact of the myriad of factors that influence current gas prices and future happiness is impossible.  

Would you rather have the brightest flame burns quickest in America, or should we use our human resources to properly balance developing future technology to the rate at which we consume fossil fuels?  

The problem is, there is no short term solution to deal with our long term problems.  The Republicans appear to want to play hot potato with drilling as a short term solution, where as said below, prices aren't going to change.  US gas supply prices would go up as Mid East prices go down and the average would be the same.  As an independent, I applaud Democrats for at least trying to take responsibility.  Now having my own children since the last election, I really don't care about my generation, what about theirs?  I want them to be happy, not me.  I want them to have a chance at a better world.  Just look at where we are, it's depressing.

Richard Poole
Richard Poole

OBAMA IS DRILLING more than ever----OIL STILL GOING UP 50% of oil comes from USA the reason they drill here is the high price--and it is going to get higher WE NEED RENEWABLE--the best country that is doing well GERMANY 50% RENEWABLE

trac ingr
trac ingr

I have driven electric since 2006, and I am here to tell you, its a fail as a MAGIC BULLET for America, I can go on and on with tech specs as to why that car, and solar , and wind AINT gonna cut it, but the enlightened among us already understand the science, and those that don't, don't want to, and will refuse to face reality.

If they worked, we would have em,  they don't.

Now go back to your conspiracy theories about how corporation prevent it from working.

deanrd
deanrd

Look at those coal miners.  Romney will raise their taxes to give billionaires a cut and take away their health care, medicar, Social Security and they don't even know it.  So sad.

deanrd
deanrd

Is Romney channelling Sarah Palin?  How come the only answer Republicans have is "dig it out of the ground"?  Don't they believe in education or science?  Oh wait.  That's right.  They don't.  I forgot.  I just assumed that, well, nevermind.

trac ingr
trac ingr

electric car a re a bust, make more carbon than cars, guess thats why volt is shut down, chevy has abandoned production

trac ingr
trac ingr

hmm, im all for it, go romney

bigeee1
bigeee1

Steve, hate to tell you but the oil will already be separated from the sand before being put into the pipe.

bigeee1
bigeee1

Of course the environmentalists will try to block this as they will not be happy until we are living in tents.  This is despite the fact that they recently discovered Palm trees under the ice in Antarctica.  Anyway, what Romney's plan means is jobs and tax revenues, in addition to spending much fewer American dollars with people who really don't like or support us.  The point that more drilling will not reduce the cost of gas and oil was proved false by the drop in natural gas prices that have occurred since we began fracking operations in several states.

Drill, baby drill is the way to go.

Steve Church
Steve Church

Energy independent by 2020... ain't going to happen. If Romney does become our next POTUS I hope he rethinks the Keystone deal. Why on earth would we want to push oil covered sand from Canada to Texas? This is sludge, not oil, and where are we going to put billions of gallons of contaminated sand?? Not in my back yard! How about yours?? 

Magik13
Magik13

Romney is a wimp and an immoral one at that. In typical narcissistic hypocritical fashion he clings to his religion but remains a spiritual and moral baby. 

The world needs bold action like Obama and the EPA took today or there will not be a world in 50 years. 

ERenger
ERenger

More domestic oil production can help with the trade deficit, but it won't affect prices by much, and it won't move the country toward true energy independence, and it won't position us for the future after oil. We need to develop our renewable resources and get off oil now. 

tommariner
tommariner

Can't find anywhere that Romney  said "... and we will insist that regulators leave the oil rigs". Or "who cares about environment concerns ... we just want to Drill, baby Drill" . But this article sure does intimate he said that. I know it is just a coincidence that it appears on the first real day of the Republican Convention.

But, no direct indication either that the author is a dedicated foe of all fossil fuel and any statement or action that stops every bit of it flowing in America be it cut off of supplies or $10 a gallon gasoline is fine because the ends justify the means. And all of us will thank Bryan from our bicycles as we travel the mile limit to our employment. Frankly, he is probably just a shill of the DNC and could care less.

amerrealist
amerrealist

We have 3-5% of all the world's oil, but consume 25% of it. If you factored in cost of wars, etc. we'd be paying over $10 a gallon in real costs. The Romney plan doesn't address renewables and natural gas. These are our future. Ask Boone Pickens. Romney's plan is a recipe for disaster amp; if he's elected I hope it hits the fan sooner rather than later, so we can finally end the Rep. madness of oil amp; mideast wars. There aren't anymore dinosaurs producing oil!!!

Eamonn Mccormick
Eamonn Mccormick

We seem to be at a critical juncture in energy that will impact us for generations. Rationally speaking1. We must embrace the natural gas revolution as a God sent opportunity2. We must reduce oil dependency by moving to electric cars and Natural gas vehicles3. We must shut down our coal plants and replace them with a combination of natural gas and cheap renewables4. We must invest in our natural gas pipeline network and an enhanced electricity network that is also more resistant to terrorist attack and natural disaster5. We must invest in making renewable energy truly cheap enough to compete rather than relying on wasteful and uneconomic subsidies for renewables and  fossil energy alike.All of the above steps not only make good economic sense they also make good environmental sense as well. Co-optimizing renewables and gas generation is straightforward. http://renewableplus.blogspot.... the world in cheap renewable energy is doable given US technological prowess.Converting existing vehicles to natural gas is also very doable.We can build a better electricity and gas distribution networkThe correct energy policy is not complicated. The problem is our political process is dominated by lobbyists and "Public relations". It is time to reject "manipulation of the masses" and insist on a more rational energy policy that is in line with what is best for the US and the global community.

http://renewableplus.blogspot.... 

horedog
horedog

DRILL YES when the hole is deep throw OBAMA in and a lot of concret 

RealityBitesU
RealityBitesU

Romney doesn't have a plan but I do:

You want real job growth, real

wealth creation and a real GDP growth?

An area 10 miles by 10 miles covered

with photovoltaic cells (solar cells/PV) provides enough energy to power the

entire USA. (It could easily be a collection of points, a few miles here and

there, or house by house) This size has been estimated using the older less

efficient silicon PV's. There are much newer and more efficient and less

expensive kinds on the market today. (i.e., Aleo Solar, thin-film) 

Economically and climate wise it all makes sense. Think of it from an economic

standpoint, no more continued shelling out of money by you to big energy

companies who should be moving on anyway to new ventures with that great capital

they hold. (These new ventures by the energy companies using their great

capital would also help in creating new opportunities, growing the economy, and

creating more jobs.) No more money taking flight to foreign owned oil and gas

companies and multinationals. No reason for any “fracking”. The continued

expense and drain on one's individual budget would evaporate. with, while not

free, very inexpensive energy, like the TVA did for the rural south. This would

increase the wealth of all individual Americans. JOBS? Putting it together is

the first great set of jobs to be created, then we can spend our money on

repairing our infrastructure (more jobs) instead of spending our wealth on a

product that can be replaced by free

sunlight. It would also stop a lot of the awful air pollution and attendant

health costs associated with that. Instead money is being spent on propaganda

campaigns and political campaigns by interested parties to continue the status

quo such as the plan of “Drill baby drill”.

Want more jobs, more energy independence? Build homes as

passive homes as they are doing in Germany, which use extremely small amounts of energy to heat or cool. It is done with

insulation. As we move in that direction we are creating huge amounts of

construction and manufacturing jobs and once again getting away from using needless

costly polluting climate destroying fuels.

How about the auto industry and jobs? People talk about the

electric car, Did you know;

In 1996 in the NESEA American Tour

de Sol, the Solectria Sunrise got 375 miles per charge, Ford’s Ecostar got 227

miles per charge, GM's EV-1 got 125 miles per charge. Nearly 20 years later

they've actually regressed!?! !  Why? What industry has an interest

adverse to the electric car industry?  It

would be easy to make an EV that is coated with thin-film PV so it is always

charging the batteries and ultracapacitors anytime any light, direct or indirect, is present, (Aleo Solar thinfilm PV

works equally well on indirect light because it operates off of infrared, it

pays back for itself in 2-3 years and lasts 17 years and the active elements

are fully recoverable recyclable for re-use.) This EV would also have

generators placed in certain wheels so electricity is also produced and fed

back into the power source anytime the wheels move, (the free moving wheels

containing generators (high efficient DC permanent magnet dynamo generator)  are rolling along with the large already

moving mass of the vehicle moved as a means of transport);  regenerative

braking (AC magnetic field induced low efficient generator) would also

recapture energy and also feed electricity back into the onboard recharging

system; the power saving system used in the Solectria Sunrise and light weight

could be used and power saving ultracapacitors i.e., Maxwell Technologies',

would also be employed during acceleration greatly extending  the battery

charge up to 15 times and of course further extending the range. You could also

use the Altairnano Nanosafe batteries which already provide 240 miles per

charge, charge in 10 minutes, operate in extreme temperatures, do not overheat

and last over 15,000 recharges. This EV would rarely need recharging by an

outlet because it is almost always trickle recharging through other means,

especially the PV. Think of the world-wide market for such a vehicle replacing

most existing vehicles and the money and wealth it would put into the hands of

consumers and the worldwide economy because they are not paying for gas or much

electricity. And, of course, the effect it would have on reducing climate

change and air pollution. Think of all the jobs it would create in making all

these vehicles. Even conversion companies would start up more jobs.

 

This is a plan with vision and foresight.

RealityBitesU
RealityBitesU

The Romney Plan is no plan at all. Same old Bush jr., Dick Cheney, stuff.

Magik13
Magik13

Romney is just another callous anti environment and anti human race coward. He demonstrates the epitome of arrogance in promoting fossil fuel use in the face of grave danger to the very future of the human race. It is already too late...climate change is here and is already causing billions in damage. The droughts in the USA west cost $7-8 billion dollars alone. The costs and catastrophes of climate change are already causing a problem and will soon be insurmountable. It is only going to get worse.  Republicans are in a dangerous denial about anthropogenic climate

change because they are protecting the polluters, the corporations, and the

super rich...their traditional constituencies. This is based in stupidity,

unconsciousness, and cowardice. Anthropogenic climate change is no longer a

debate or an opinion but established scientific fact and is now also an ever

accelerating experiential reality. A vote for a climate liar republican is indeed a vote against your own children's future.