The Solar Energy Industries Association has released a statement on Mitt Romney’s energy policy proposal, a white paper for which can be found here. The 21-page proposal calls for North American energy independence by 2020, framing it as one way to strengthen the middle class.
A lobbying organization, SEIA has previously stated its willingness to work with both parties. As such, it agreed with a number of the proposal’s points while remaining mum about possible conflicts. Commentators and media, however, weren’t as diplomatic.
The Washington Post writes that the proposal is “big on loosening environmental regulations and expanding domestic oil drilling and coal production.” The New York Times says it’s bound to be “controversial,” helping some states while harming others. The paper explains that expanded coal production in Virginia would bring jobs, while drilling off the coast of Florida may harm tourism.
The proposal mentions solar power a few times, but only in the same context as coal and oil, explaining that time-consuming regulations limit their expansion.
Romney said the proposal would augment domestic oil production up to 28 million barrels per day, while producing an economic impact of $500 billion and adding 3 million new jobs, according to reports.
The president’s campaign, however, had other thoughts. According to The Associated Press, a campaign spokeswoman said, “[The proposal is] just another irresponsible scheme to help line the pockets of big oil while allowing the U.S to fall behind and cede the clean energy sector to China.”
The full text of SEIA’s statement is below:
For Immediate Release
August 23, 2012
Statement on Romney Campaign Energy PolicySolar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) President and CEO Rhone Resch made the following statement today following the release of Governor Romney’s Energy Policy White Paper. “America’s solar industry shares Governor Romney’s desire to achieve energy independence by 2020 as well as his support for using all domestic resources, including solar, to achieve this goal. Solar is a mainstream, reliable, domestic energy source that today generates enough energy to power nearly one million homes across the nation. Today, the solar energy industry employs 100,000 Americans at 5,600 companies – many of them small businesses – in all 50 states. While top financial institutions like Bank of America and Wells Fargo invest in solar, Apple, Wal-Mart, Target and the U.S. military are increasingly relying on solar to keep costs down and meet energy needs. “We also applaud Governor Romney’s recognition that the federal government can help ensure access to diverse, reliable sources of energy. Every energy source, from oil and coal a century ago to modern natural gas drilling operations, receive federal support to help power our economy. According to a study this year by the Howard Baker Center at the University of Tennessee, federal support for solar deployment is consistent with federal support received by all other major energy sources. “We agree with Governor Romney that a level playing field is critical; smart policy that’s good for traditional energy sources is also right for solar to reach the Governor’s energy independence goal. Long-standing, bipartisan federal support for domestic energy production provides a stable, predictable business environment that leverages private dollars to finance entrepreneurs to continue innovation, driving more affordable energy for American homes and businesses.” “We also support Governor Romney’s desire to cut red tape. The barriers to energy independence aren’t just technological, they are also regulatory. But don’t stop cutting at the federal level; state and local obstacles prevent Americans from choosing their energy sources today. The solar industry stands ready to continue to work in a bipartisan fashion to streamline regulatory requirements at the federal, state and local levels to allow America to use the abundant energy resources we have been blessed with to power our economy.”