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Does Mitt Romney Really Understand Energy?

It’s time to set the record straight.  When it comes to Mitt Romney’s energy policy, all you’ll need to remember is “oil and gas.”  It is clear that former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is dedicated to the big oil interests that are helping his campaign.
Let’s get some background on Mitt Romney before we delve into this.  Romney’s views on global climate change have been shifty over the years, but he has shown the world that his loyalties are to big oil and other fossil fuel-based energy.  
Though Romney used to acknowledge humankind’s role in creating global climate change, his “view” has changed over the last several years.
Romney recently said “My view is that we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet,” while claiming that reducing fossil fuel emissions “is not the right course for us.”  Furthermore, Romney is actually against the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions by the EPA and even opposes fuel efficiency standards for vehicles.
Despite the increase in domestic drilling during Obama’s presidency, Romney has criticized Obama for not moving forward with projects like the Keystone XL oil pipeline.  Whether or not you agree with President Obama’s energy policies, it is clear that Mitt Romney heavily favors fossil fuels over clean alternatives such as solar energy.
Not only is Romney’s stance on global climate change scientifically ludicrous, he claims that clean energy is not a practical solution to America’s energy predicament:
“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” – Mitt Romney, 2011.
Romney’s previous outlook on this matter seems to be in polar opposition with his current stance.  It’s almost amusing that back in 2003, Romney believed that green jobs were a viable investment for our nation’s future:
“Now is the time to refocus its assets in such a manner that it can become a major economic springboard for the commonwealth by focusing on job creation in the renewable energy sector.” – Mitt Romney, 2003.
 
Romney has since done an about face, calling Obama’s “obsession” with green jobs “unhealthy” and his policies “old and outdated.”  Put simply, Romney no longer believes that green energy can produce a significant amount of jobs in the United States.  Yet, clean energy continues to show promise.  The Huffington Post reports that 3.1 million Americans are working green jobs. 
Let’s review this a minute.  According to Romney, we don’t know what’s causing climate change, so we should continue to exploit fossil fuel-based resources.  Moreover, reducing fossil fuel emissions is not the right course of action and creating jobs in the green economy is just some crazy left-wing obsession.
 
So why would someone advocate these kinds of beliefs?  
Romney’s backwards “thinking” about climate change and the potential of clean energy has much to do with his relationship to the oil-drenched dollars that are funding his campaign, both directly and indirectly.   
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Romney received $899,630 from oil and gas in 2011. 
Advocating anti-clean energy views is in Mitt Romney’s best interest because he has big oil royalty like the Koch brothers backing his campaign.  The billionaire Koch brothers are oil businessmen, whose empire of wealth has allowed their political influence to be far-reaching in almost every facet of our lives.  The Koch brothers are currently putting millions into campaigns to eliminate environmental regulation.  For the Koch brothers, Mitt Romney makes an excellent political puppet.
The Koch Brothers, two of the most powerful people in American politics.
Romney has been reaching out to the Americans for Prosperity, a conservative group that is heavily funded by the Koch brothers.  Through this organization, the Koch brothers recently helped finance an anti-Obama attack ad, which was riddled with deceptive information about Obama’s clean energy policies.  In describing the 6 million dollar ad, the Washington Post observes “the erroneous assertions emerge yet again, without any shame.”
 
The Koch brothers are notorious for doing anything and everything in their power to push their big oil agenda.  They pump millions of dollars into anything that will change the social-political landscape in their favor including the financing of think tanks, influencing education curriculum, and funding conservative groups such as the Americans for Prosperity.
By helping Romney’s campaign through such measures, the Koch brothers aim to help the former Massachusetts governor become the next president of the United States of America.  If Romney accomplishes this, the Koch brothers will have procured an ally in the White House.
If elected president, Mitt Romney would do everything in his power to eliminate subsidies for solar and wind, while keeping subsidies for big oil firmly intact.  Subsidies and tax breaks for oil currently amount to a whopping four billion dollars every year.  Four billion.
These issues bring to light some important questions:  To what extent does money influence the political landscape, especially surrounding clean energy?  Are politicians looking out for our best interest?  What kind of threat does clean energy pose to people like the Koch brothers?
Just to clarify, we’re not suggesting that you vote for Obama, but rather urging you to think critically about the politics of clean energy.  We understand that jumping in the political arena is risky, but this hits too close to home not to bring it up.
Consider this a platform to share your own thoughts on the issues we touched on.

 

Author: Tom Jackson

I believe clean, renewable energy is key to the evolution of society as a whole. Solar powers our planet, why not harness it to power humanity? Let's power our homes, our work, and our vehicles with solar energy. It begins with raising awareness and encouraging those around us to go green.

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