Climate change was a no-show at the second presidential debate. But the candidates did get into a heated exchange over oil policies, prompted by a question on how to lower gas prices. Mitt Romney never answered how he would help with high gas prices because his solution to expand oil and gas drilling enriches oil but does virtually nothing to lower gas prices or protect consumers from price shocks.
At the debate, Obama pointed out that Romney’s energy plan “is to let the oil companies write the energy policies.” That is literally the case; from oil billionaire Harold Hamm to oil lobbyist Jack Gerard, Romney’s energy team is dominated by oil executives and lobbyists — and his energy policy is almost identical to the American Petroleum Institute’s.
Here’s what Obama said:
Now, Governor Romney will say he’s got an all-of-the-above plan, but basically his plan is to let the oil companies write the energy policies. So he’s got the oil and gas part, but he doesn’t have the clean energy part. And if we are only thinking about tomorrow or the next day and not thinking about 10 years from now, we’re not going to control our own economic future, because China, Germany — they’re making these investments. And I’m not going to cede those jobs of the future to those countries. I expect those new energy sources to be built right here in the United States.
After a year of disparaging American clean energy industries, Romney claimed the sector “will be an important part of our energy mix.” But Romney officially opposes policies like the wind production tax credit, which helps supports 37,000 wind jobs and has led to billions in private investment in the industry. Meanwhile, Romney favors oil industry tax credits and has endorsed the Republican plan to maintain $4 billion worth each year.
Romney has opened the door to the oil industry, which has rewarded him with financial support and campaign ads.
Groups backed by the oil industry have spent heavily, according to a ThinkProgress analysis of independent advertisements from Kantar Media’s CMAG system. These groups, American Energy Alliance, American Future Fund, Americans for Prosperity, Crossroads GPS, and Let Freedom Ring, have purchased at least $11.4 million worth in ads since April attacking Obama’s energy policies. The oil industry’s lobby, American Petroleum Institute, bought over $1.3 million ads since September 1, to promote fossil fuel policies. The Kochs have also personally pledged at least $60 million on Romney’s behalf.
Days before Romney released his drilling plan in New Mexico, he raised nearly $10 million campaigning for Texas oil money. That same plan included 154 mentions of oil, but just 24 mentions of wind and solar — 9 of them negative.