Last Friday, Presidential Candidate Marco Rubio unveiled his energy plan, “Powering the New American Century.”
Senator Rubio’s plan sharply contrast the economically disastrous and overbearing regulatory climate President Obama and the EPA have worked so hard to foster in recent years.
Throughout his administration Obama has passed a litany of regulations that have severely damaged the U.S. economy, ballooned the size and power of the EPA, and placed the future of the energy industry in the hands of unelected government bureaucrats and regulators. In contrast Senator Rubio’s plan highlights policy reforms that would optimize America’s resources and rein in an out-of-control government bureaucracy that has stymied U.S. energy prosperity for too long.
Noteworthy features of his energy plan include:
Overturning the Crude Oil Export Ban
Since the 1970s, the US has banned the export of crude oil, originally intended to protect U.S. oil supplies during a time of scarcity after the 1973 OPEC oil embargo. However, the U.S. is no longer a nation of energy scarcity; rather, the U.S. is currently enjoying an energy renaissance with domestic production reaching historic levels. Overturning the ban would generate a plethora of economic benefits such as reduced domestic gas prices, the creation of thousands of jobs, and an industry boom that will pump billions of dollars in the economy.
Approving the Keystone XL Pipeline
When Obama vetoed the Keystone XL Pipeline in January, he held back thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic growth. In fact, the State Department’s own reports estimate that “during construction, proposed Project spending would support approximately 42,100 jobs (direct, indirect, and induced), and approximately $2 billion in earnings throughout the United States.”
Expediting Natural Gas Export Approval
As a result of new recovery technologies, the U.S. is now the world’s leader in natural gas production. However, the U.S. does not lead the world in natural gas exports due to a lengthy, red-tape laden approval process. Under this system, the Department of Energy (DOE) approved only 3 of 35 applications from 2010-2014. This unnecessarily long approval process obstructs the vast economic benefits of increased national gas exports. An increase in natural gas exports is projected to contribute as much as $10 to $31 billion per state to the economies of natural gas-producing states, create an estimated 60,000 to 155,000 jobs , and ignite a construction boom for new gas export terminals.
Reining in Unelected Bureaucrats
Under the Obama administration, federal agencies such as the DOE and EPA have exponentially grown in power. These bureaucrats have passed a variety of job-killing, expensive regulations that expand the federal government’s control over the economy. In response, Senator Rubio’s energy plan aims to institute a “National Regulatory Budget,” a measure he introduced previously in Senate,that prevents these unelected bureaucrats from instituting overly expensive regulations.
Simplifying the Environmental Review Process
Under the current regulatory environment, U.S. economic interests are obstructed by red tape, permitting delays, and mandatory reviews. This lengthy and bureaucratically cumbersome environmental review process stymies economic growth and chokes innovation in all sectors of the economy. Senator Rubio states that his energy plan “will improve the environmental review process by setting clear deadlines and statutes of limitations, requiring better coordination between federal agencies, and allowing adequate state reviews to satisfy federal requirements.”
Facilitate Private-Sector Innovation of New Technology
The government practice of corporate welfare is extremely wasteful and rife with corruption and cronyism. This is best shown by the failure of solar company Solyndra. The government should not be in the business of picking winners and losers in the marketplace – this is the role of the free market. Rubio’s plan aims to remove red tape and government handouts that obstruct private sector innovation. “Success should not be defined as providing enough subsidies to prop up uncompetitive technology” and should instead “be defined as eliminating barriers that might prevent innovative technologies from succeeding on their own,” the plan states.
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore