The US Election trail: Energy Policies

Energy has always been a controversial issue in U.S. politics. The Arab oil embargo of 1973 starkly highlighted the country’s dependence on foreign imports for energy, whilst George Bush’s refusal to sign the Kyoto Protocol in 2005 made it clear that the U.S. Government had limited confidence in renewable energy as the solution.

So with Barack Obama and Mitt Romney currently locked in a fierce battle on the campaign trail, what exactly are their visions for the future of home and business energy in the U.S.?

Barack Obama

When Barack Obama took seat in the White House, he called for greater Governmental investment in clean and renewable energy to reduce both carbon emissions and the country’s dependence on foreign sources of energy. Obama now says that by the end of 2012, the U.S will have doubled their energy generation from wind, solar and geothermal resources since 2008. The president argues that 80% of the country’s electricity should come from efficient renewable resources by 2035.

At the same time, Obama says that he will support the opening of over 75% of new offshore oil and gas resources in the U.S., but will eliminate tax breaks for oil and gas companies. After the disastrous Gulf oil spill in April 2010, the Democratic administration froze plans to build a Keystone oil pipeline from Canada to Texas because they did not have enough time to properly assess the safety issues involved.

Mitt Romney

The Republican candidate is firmly focused on reforming the nation’s energy market through the development of domestic production. Romney believes that the oil, gas, coal and nuclear sectors have greater job-creating potential than green energy and should play an important part in strengthening the U.S. economy. He intends to ‘preserve environmental gains’ by tightening regulations for nuclear and coal plants and would develop ethanol at home and shale gas in Europe, to reduce the continent’s dependence on Russian energy.

Romney believes that the Keystone oil pipeline will play a major role in securing the country’s energy independence by 2020. The Republican administration would also support the building of further pipelines to match the expected growth of Canadian oil and gas production. Romney would also end the tax credit currently afforded to Iowa’s wind industry, as he believes that government funding restricts the development of a free energy market.

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