Wednesday in New Mexico, Mitt Romney linked America’s energy independence to jobs, a healthier middle class, and greater national security in an address that laid out a comprehensive energy strategy that seeks to “achieve North American energy independence by 2020 and establish America as an energy superpower in the 21st century.”
The central part of Romney’s strategy is allowing states to be responsible for the permitting process for energy development and drilling on federal lands within their borders. Romney claimed his plan would add three million new jobs, reduce the trade deficit by 80 percent, and lure companies to escape more expensive energy prices abroad to build manufacturing plants in America again. This is a direct appeal to the blue-collar Reagan Democrats Romney needs to beat Obama.
Romney noted that in North Dakota, it takes 10 days to get a permit for a new well. In Colorado, Romney noted that it took 27 days. In contrast, it takes an average of 307 days to get the same permit when it comes to federal lands.
By giving states the power to regulate the permitting process as a part of his broader energy strategy, Romney said his plan would ensure Americans “won’t be buying oil from Middle East or Venezuela if we don’t want to.”
Romney said “energy independence is the key to American leadership” and denounced Obama for taking federal dollars and picking losers by giving government-guaranteed loans and grants to green boondoggles like the failed Solyndra.
“The government of the United States is not a good venture capitalist,” Romney said, noting that his energy strategy would focus on investing in science and research that would find technologies to make energy use more efficient instead of gambling on crony capitalism.
Romney also said the federal government should stop “using the law to stop the production of energy” offshore and would work with the Carolinas, Virginia, and the gulf states to find more targeted areas for offshore energy development while also making sure there are state-of-the-art safety procedures to prevent another BP oil spill.
Romney also called for a partnership with Canada and Mexico, the Keystone pipeline to be built, and a more accurate inventory of the country’s energy resources.
Romney said Obama’s claims about how much of the world’s energy supply America has is “a dramatic understatement” and Romney would seek to get a more “accurate inventory” of the country’s domestic energy supply.
Romney also called for more regulatory reform, and his full energy plan can be seen here.