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BRIDGE BRIEFING: Romney And Energy

Romney Supported The Ryan Budget Cutting Funding For Alternative Energy And Giving Out Oil Subsidies

Romney Endorsed The FY2013 Ryan Plan Which Would Slash Funding For Energy Research And Eliminate Federal Subsidies For Alternative Energy Firms. According to the Los Angeles Times, “Last week, Rep. Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) unveiled a new Republican budget proposal that Romney and other GOP candidates quickly endorsed. Ryan’s budget would eliminate federal subsidies and tax breaks for alternative energy firms and would slash funding for energy research.” [Los Angeles Times, 3/25/12]

Ryan Plan Would Expand Oil And Gas Drilling, Limit The EPA’s Reach And Kill The Energy Department’s Clean Energy Loan Program. According to Politico, “…what greens hate about Ryan, the GOP loves. The Wisconsin Republican has been an outspoken critic of President Barack Obama’s clean energy agenda, offering a fiscal plan earlier this year that neatly mirrors the GOP’s policy priorities. The plan would expand oil and gas drilling, limit the reach of the EPA and kill the Energy Department’s clean energy loan program. The plan even earned a high-profile rebuke from Obama, something that many Republicans would wear as a badge of honor. ‘If some politicians had their way, there won’t be any more public investment in solar energy,’ the president said during a March speech at a solar plant in Colorado.” [Politico, 8/12/12]

Budget Plan Would Not Cut Tax Breaks For Oil Companies. According to the New York Times, “Other energy incentives may go unchallenged, however. Questioned on Fox News on Sunday by Chris Wallace on whether multibillion-dollar subsidies for oil and gas companies would also be eliminated, Mr. Ryan did not give a direct answer. ‘Do you eliminate tax breaks?’ Mr. Wallace asked. ‘Do you bring in new revenue by eliminating, for instance, tax breaks for oil companies?’ ‘The problem with our deficit is not because Americans are taxed too little — the problem with our deficit is because Washington spends too much money,’ Mr. Ryan responded. ‘So we’re not going to go down the path of raising taxes on people.’” [New York Times, 4/6/11]

Newsweek: Ryan Plan Protects Tax Breaks For The Oil Industry. According to an article by Newsweek’s White House Correspondent Daniel Stone, “When House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan unveiled the GOP blueprint for cutting government spending, he asked Americans to make sacrifices on everything from Medicare to education, while preserving lucrative tax subsidies for the booming oil, mining and energy industries.” [Newsweek/The Daily Beast, 6/17/11]

Center For American Progress: Ryan’s Budget Retained $40 Billion In Tax Breaks For Oil. According to the Center for American Progress, “American families have been plagued by higher oil and gasoline prices over the past several years despite a significant increase in domestic oil production and rigs, and decline in consumption. But while high prices threaten the economy and family budgets, they enrich American oil companies with huge profits. Yet it appears that House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) proposed FY 2013 budget resolution would retain a decade’s worth of oil tax breaks worth $40 billion. And his budget would cut billions of dollars from investments to develop alternative fuels and clean energy technologies that would serve as substitutes for oil and help protect middle-class families from volatile energy prices as well as create jobs. In short, the Ryan budget compounds the cost of high oil and gasoline prices on the middle class.” [Center for American Progress, Issues, 3/20/12]

 

Romney Criticized Solar And Wind Energy

Romney Said Obama Focused On “An Imaginary World” Where Wind And Solar Energy Could Power The Economy. According to The Columbus Dispatch, Romney wrote in an op-ed, “In place of real energy, Obama has focused on an imaginary world where government-subsidized windmills and solar panels could power the economy. This vision has failed. His promise of 5 million green jobs vanished as fast as the $500 million he gave to his campaign donors at now-bankrupt Solyndra. His goal of 1 million electric cars went up in flames alongside the Chevy Volt batteries that prompted a recall of all 8,000 sold so far.” [The Columbus Dispatch, 03/05/12]

Romney: “You Can’t Drive A Car With A Windmill On It.” According to Think Progress, “Romney attacked administration commitments to clean energy that reduce U.S. dependence on oil and fight climate change. To illustrate his point, Romney told his Ohio audience, ‘you can’t drive a car with a windmill on it’: ‘We all like wind and solar, but you can’t drive a car with a windmill on it,’” Romney said. [Think Progress, 03/06/12]

Romney Said Wind And Solar Energy Plants Failed To Become Economically Viable. According to Romney For President, “Government has a role to play in innovation in the energy industry. History shows that the United States has moved forward in astonishing ways thanks to national investment in basic research and advanced technology. However, we should not be in the business of steering investment toward particular politically favored approaches. That is a recipe for both time and money wasted on projects that do not bring us dividends. The failure of windmills and solar plants to become economically viable or make a significant contribution to our energy supply is a prime example.” [Romney For President, 09/06/11]

Romney Said Wind And Solar Energy “Made Sense Only For The Companies Reaping Profits.” According to USA Today, “As governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney created a fund to invest in green energy, said alternative energy could generate jobs and approved bills allowing cities to build fields of solar panels. […] This year, Romney’s pitch has changed. ‘To begin with, wind and solar power, two of the most ballyhooed forms of alternative fuel, remain sharply uncompetitive on their own with conventional resources such as oil and natural gas in most applications,’ Romney’s job plan says. ‘Indeed, at current prices, these technologies make little sense for the consuming public but great sense only for the companies reaping profits from taxpayer subsidies.’” [USA Today, 09/08/11]

 

Romney Opposed Wind Energy Tax Credit Benefitting Iowan Farmers

Romney Opposed Renewing Wind Energy Tax Credits Set To Expire Despite Program’s Popularity In Iowa. According to Talking Points Memo, “The Romney campaign on Monday signaled the Republican nominee is against renewing a tax break for wind energy, a potentially dangerous position since the program is popular in the swing state of Iowa, reports the Des Moines Register. The position distinguishes Romney from President Obama who wishes to extend the tax credit and says it has saved jobs in Iowa. It also puts Romney at odds with some Iowa Republicans who support the tax break. ‘He will allow the wind credit to expire, end the stimulus boondoggles, and create a level playing field on which all sources of energy can compete on their merits,’ Shawn McCoy, a spokesman for Romney’s Iowa campaign, told the Register Monday. ‘Wind energy will thrive wherever it is economically competitive, and wherever private sector competitors with far more experience than the president believe the investment will produce results.’” [Talking Points Memo, 7/31/12]

Gov. Branstad Said Wind Energy Tax Credits Proceeded Obama And The Stimulus And Made A Difference. According to Radio Iowa, “The Romney campaign is running a TV ad in Iowa which suggests part of the 2009 economic stimulus package sent taxpayer dollars to ‘windmills from China.’ ‘I understand why they are very critical of the whole thing that was done by the Obama Administration with regard to the stimulus and some of the money that was wasted on Solyndra and some of these green energy projects didn’t make sense,’ Branstad said. ‘The tax credit, however, is a much different thing and it way proceeded Obama and it was actually something that Senator Grassley authored and has made a real difference over time.’” [Radio Iowa, 8/2/12]