Just days before the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, Mitt Romney has unveiled his vision for American energy policy during a campaign stop in Hobbs, New Mexico.
The speech, along with a policy paper released by Romney's campaign Wednesday, provide some of the first concrete details of what the presumed GOP candidate has in store for the nation if he triumphs come November.
The energy plan is centered around the goal of North American Energy Independence by 2020.
"I have a vision for an America that is an energy superpower, rapidly increasing our own production and partnering with our allies Canada and Mexico to achieve energy independence on this continent," said Romney in his speech. "We're not going to have to buy oil from the Middle East, Venezuela, or any other place we don't want to."
To achieve this, Romney proposes giving states much broader control over the development of energy resources on federal lands within their borders. This measure is designed to streamline the approval process and keep federal regulations at a minimum.
The plan also calls for increasing energy ties with Canada and Mexico, including fast-track approval for cross-border pipelines such as Keystone XL which would connect Alberta's tar sands to refineries in the Gulf of Mexico.
Areas off the coast of Virginia and the Carolinas, which have previously been protected, would also be opened up for oil-and-gas exploration and Romney would institute tighter deadlines for environmental reviews for proposed energy projects.
Romney claims his plan would create three million jobs and generate one trillion dollars in revenue.
The League of Conservation Voters analyzed the 21-page energy policy plan, released the night before Romney's big speech, and reported that oil was mentioned 154 times, while wind energy was only mentioned ten times, and five of those mentions were negative. LCV also reported that no mention of climate change was made in Romney's national energy plan.
"We continue to be surprised by Romney’s outright hostility to clean technologies like wind and solar. Under his plan, clean energy's loss would be Big Oil's gain," said Jeff Gohringer, LCV National Press Secretary.
For their part, the Sierra Club classified Romney's plan as a huge step backwards for the country.
"Mitt Romney has devised an energy insecurity plan that would make us even more dependent upon oil, coal, and gas companies while ignoring climate disruption, economic growth, and the health and well-being of the American people."
"Does anyone really think that the winning economy of the 21st century can be built on 19th-century fossil fuel technology?" asks the Sierra Club. "Romney's plan is an anchor to the past. The future America deserves is one in which energy doesn't cost lives, and no one has to choose between a good job and good health."
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Joanna Foster is a freelance science journalist based in New York City. Her background is in ecology and evolutionary biology, and having always lived near water—be it Lake Michigan, the Indian Ocean or the North Sea—she is passionate about the conservation and restoration of this most precious resource. She is a regular contributer at the Energy and Environment blog at The New York Times, and her work has also appeared in OnEarth Magazine and at the American Museum of Natural History. TakePart.com