Science and Technology in the 2012 Presidential Election:
Energy and Environment
- Barack Obama (D)
Highlights from the campaign Web site include:
“Under President Obama’s direction, the Environmental Protection Agency has issued the first-ever national standards for mercury emissions and other dangerous toxins from coal- and oil-fired power plants.”
The Obama administration approved "the country’s first-ever offshore wind farm” and “the construction of 16 commercial-scale solar facilities, five wind, and eight geothermal projects on public lands.”
“The President made an agreement with auto manufacturers to improve the overall fuel economy of the nation's passenger auto fleet to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025—nearly twice the 27.5 miles per gallon standard that was in place when he took office.”
- "The President has announced the opening of public lands for investments in clean energy, and he has committed his administration to approve projects by the end of 2012 that will increase renewable generation capacity to power 3 million homes."
- Mitt Romney (R)
Romney says he "will make every effort to safeguard the environment, but he will be mindful at every step of also protecting the jobs of American workers.”
Romney proposes a series of regulatory reforms to “eliminate the regulations promulgated in pursuit of the Obama administration’s costly and ineffective anti-carbon agenda.” He would impose a regulatory cap of zero dollars on federal agencies and require congressional approval of all new “major” regulations. He would create fixed timetables for resource development approvals, a “one-stop shop to streamline permitting,” and a fast-track for companies with established safety records. Romney would also amend the Clean Air Act to exclude carbon dioxide from its purview, expand the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to approve additional nuclear reactor designs and streamline NRC licensing process so approval for specific designs is complete in two years.
Along with regulatory reform, Romney proposes increased domestic energy production. He would carry out a comprehensive survey of US energy assets, open reserves for development, foster partnerships with neighboring countries, support construction of pipelines to bring Canadian oil to the United States, and prevent the overregulation of shale gas development.
Finally, Romney would concentrate alternative energy funding on basic research and use “long-term apolitical funding mechanisms like ARPA-E for basic research.”
In his book, No Apology, and earlier public appearances, Romney had expressed his belief in climate change caused by human actions. However, Romney recently shifted his opinion, stating “My view is that we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet and the idea of spending trillions and trillions of dollars to try and reduce CO2 emissions is not the right course for us.”