Romney's New Energy Plan Would Doom Humanity
Photo Credit: Barnaby Chambers/ Shutterstock.com
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Let's not mince words -- we're on thin ice. And it's getting rapidly thinner. We're breaking records faster than Usain Bolt but unfortunately we're running top speed toward the endgame. Our place in the record books is beside titles like "hottest" and "driest" and "most rapidly warming." This is the hottest year on record so far and today we learned that, "The Antarctic Peninsula is one of the fastest warming places on Earth at the moment." This comes from an international team of climate scientists and the findings are just the latest in a stack that don't bode well for a livable planet.
As Bill McKibben wrote in Rolling Stone last month, "Since I wrote one of the first books for a general audience about global warming way back in 1989, and since I've spent the intervening decades working ineffectively to slow that warming, I can say with some confidence that we're losing the fight, badly and quickly -- losing it because, most of all, we remain in denial about the peril that human civilization is in."
Nowhere is that denial playing out more clearly than with the Romney-Ryan ticket. Here's a look at their energy plan and their past record on the environment.
An Energy Plan for the 19th Century
The crux of Mitt Romney's newly unveiled energy plan is "energy independence" -- a phrase so bandied by politicians that it has lost all significance. In fact, according to Foreign Policy, it has been promised by every president since Nixon. So what's different about Romney's plan? Well not much, it's mostly more of the same from the GOP "drill, baby, drill" crowd.
Before we get to the details of where exactly Romney hopes to drill (spoiler altert: watch out Virginia), here's a crucial tidbit. As Philip Bump writes for Grist, "Romney pledges energy independence by 2020. It's important to note, though, that he doesn't pledge American energy independence by that date; rather, he proposes North American independence."
This roughly translates to "you can't build the Keystone XL pipeline fast enough." (The plan also calls for instituting a "fast-track regulatory approval processes for cross-border pipelines and other infrastructure.") And the unfortunate thing about calls for energy independence is that it's a sham. Just because coal, gas and oil are mined and drilled on US soil (or under its waters), it doesn't mean it will stay in this country. Just ask the group of folks in Montana who were arrested last week protesting the coal that's being blasted from the mountains there only to be shipped to China. Then there is the new 25-year deal for West Virginians and Kentuckians to send their coal to India.
You know what type of energy is really hard to export? Solar and wind. But sadly, there's not too much love for that in Romney's plan, which is mostly stuck in the 19th century. There is no mention of cutting the billions of dollars in subsidies for Big Oil. What Romney does want is to be able to open up more federal (read: public) lands for fossil fuel extraction and he wants the federal government to have little oversight in this matter. Individual states should be able to handle the permitting, according to Romney. Apparently Romney's energy advisors have failed to realize that pollution doesn't stop at state borders. In perhaps the most radical part of his plan Romney he spells out that:
- States will be empowered to establish processes to oversee the development and production of all forms of energy on federal lands within their borders, excluding on lands specially designated off-limits;
- State regulatory processes and permitting programs for all forms of energy development will be deemed to satisfy all requirements of federal law;
- Federal agencies will certify state processes as adequate, according to established criteria that are sufficiently broad, to afford the states maximum flexibility to ascertain what is most appropriate; and
- The federal government will encourage the formation of a State Energy Development Council, where states can work together along with existing organizations such as STRONGER and the IOGCC to share expertise and best management practices
So, the faster we can drill and mine, and with the least regulatory oversight is best. Daniel J. Weiss wrote for Think Progress that, "a similar proposal was too radical even for arch conservative Arizona Governor Jan Brewer. She vetoed a bill turning all federal lands over to her state."