As the 2012 elections approach, Solar Power World will post a four-part series that will include, word-for-word, the positions of the two parties and their respective candidates. The information will be collected from the two parties’ and two candidates’ websites and presented — unedited — here. This will allow our readers to judge for themselves which party and president will do their level best to keep the solar industry growing, both in jobs and in scope.
In this first installment, we present you the Republican Party’s platform statement on energy policy:
Domestic Energy Independence: An “All of the Above” Energy Policy
The Republican Party is committed to domestic energy independence. The United States and its neighbors to the North and South have been blessed with abundant energy resources, tapped and untapped, traditional and alternative, that are among the largest and most valuable on earth. Advancing technology has given us a more accurate understanding of the nation’s enormous reserves that are ours for the development. The role of public officials must be to encourage responsible development across the board. Unlike the current Administration, we will not pick winners and losers in the energy marketplace. Instead, we will let the free market and the public’s preferences determine the industry outcomes. In assessing the various sources of potential energy, Republicans advocate an all-of-the-above diversified approach, taking advantage of all our American God-given resources. That is the best way to advance North American energy independence.
Our policies aim at energy security to ensure an affordable, stable, and reliable energy supply for all parts of the country and all sectors of the economy. Energy security is intimately linked to national security both in terms of our current dependence upon foreign supplies and because some of the hundreds of billions of dollars we pay for foreign oil ends up in the hands of terrorist groups that wish to harm us. A growing, prosperous economy and our standard of living and quality of life, moreover, depend on affordable and abundant domestic energy supplies.
A strong and stable energy sector is a job generator and a catalyst of economic growth, not only in the labor-intensive energy industry but also in its secondary markets. The Republican Party will encourage and ensure diversified domestic sources of energy, from research and development, exploration, production, transportation, transmission, and consumption in a way that is economically viable and job-producing, as well as environmentally sound. When our energy industry is revitalized, millions more Americans will find work in manufacturing, food production, metals, minerals, packaging, transportation and other fields – because of the jobs that will be created in, and as a result of, the energy sector. We are determined to create jobs, spur economic growth, lower energy prices, and strengthen our energy industry.
Our Nation’s Energy Abundance
Coal is a low-cost and abundant energy source with hundreds of years of supply. We look toward the private sector’s development of new, state-of-the-art coal-fired plants that will be low-cost, environmentally responsible, and efficient. We also encourage research and development of advanced technologies in this sector, including coal-to-liquid, coal gasification, and related technologies for enhanced oil recovery.
The current Administration – with a President who publicly threatened to bankrupt anyone who builds a coal-powered plant – seems determined to shut down coal production in the United States, even though there is no cost-effective substitute for it or for the hundreds of thousands of jobs that go with it as the nation’s largest source of electricity generation. We will end the EPA’s war on coal and encourage the increased safe development in all regions of the nation’s coal resources, the jobs it produces, and the affordable, reliable energy that it provides for America. Further, we oppose any and all cap and trade legislation.
All estimates of America’s oil and natural gas reserves indicate an incredible bounty for the use of many generations to come. At a time when unemployment has been above 8 percent for 42 consecutive months, the longest stretch since the Great Depression, and some 23 million Americans are either unemployed, underemployed, or have given up on finding work, we should be pursuing our oil and gas resources both on and offshore. It is nonsensical to spurn real job creation by putting almost all of our coastal waters off limits to energy exploration, while urging other nations to explore their coasts. We call for a reasoned approach to all offshore energy development on the East Coast and other appropriate waters, and support the right of States to a reasonable share of the resulting revenue and royalties. We support opening the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) for energy exploration and development and ending the current Administration’s moratorium on permitting; opening the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) for exploration and production of oil and natural gas; and allowing for more oil and natural gas exploration on federally owned and controlled land. We support this development in accordance with applicable environmental, health and safety laws, and regulations.
The current President personally blocked one of the most important energy and jobs projects in years. The Keystone XL Pipeline – which would have brought much needed Canadian and American oil to U.S. refineries – would create thousands of jobs. The current President’s job-killing combination of extremism and ineptitude threatens to create a permanent energy shortage. We are committed to approving the Keystone XL Pipeline and to streamlining permitting for the development of other oil and natural gas pipelines. Nuclear energy, now generating about 20 percent of our electricity through 104 power plants, must be expanded. No new nuclear generating plants have been licensed and constructed for thirty years. We call for timely processing of new reactor applications currently pending at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
The federal government’s failure to address the storage and disposal of spent nuclear fuel has left huge bills for States and taxpayers. Our country needs a more proactive approach to managing spent nuclear fuel, including through developing advanced reprocessing technologies.
We encourage the cost-effective development of renewable energy, but the taxpayers should not serve as venture capitalists for risky endeavors. It is important to create a pathway toward a market-based approach for renewable energy sources and to aggressively develop alternative sources for electricity generation such as wind, hydro, solar, biomass, geothermal, and tidal energy. Partnerships between traditional energy industries and emerging renewable industries can be a central component in meeting the nation’s long-term needs. Alternative forms of energy are part of our action agenda to power the homes and workplaces of the nation.
Pulling the Plug on American Energy Independence: The Failure of the Current Administration
The current Administration has used taxpayer dollars to pick winners and losers in the energy sector while publicly threatening to bankrupt anyone who builds a new coal-fired plant and has stopped the Keystone XL Pipeline. The current President has done nothing to disavow the scare campaign against hydraulic fracturing. Furthermore, he has wasted billions of taxpayers’ dollars by subsidizing favored companies like Solyndra, which generated bankruptcies rather than kilowatts.
Since the current President took office in 2009, consumers pay approximately twice as much for gas at the pump. Our common theme is to promote development of all forms of energy, enable consumer choice to keep energy costs low, and ensure that America remains competitive in the global marketplace. We will respect the States’ proven ability to regulate the use of hydraulic fracturing, continue development of oil and gas resources in places like the Bakken formation and Marcellus Shale, and review the environmental laws that often thwart new energy exploration and production. We salute the Republican Members of the House of Representatives for passing the Domestic Energy and Jobs Act, a vital piece of pro-growth legislation now introduced by Republicans in the Senate.
For the complete Republican platform, please go to GOP.com to see the full text of the entire platform.