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Where the Presidential candidates stand on energy

Jul 10, 2012
Carter Wood

Business Roundtable is sponsoring a forum at The Newseum Wednesday where two presidential campaign surrogates will debate the candidates' positions on energy issues.

The debaters have extensive, impressive experience in energy policy, both inside and outside the federal government.

Dan Reicher, Executive Director, Stanford University Center for Energy Policy and Finance, will represent President Obama's campaign. From his bio: "Reicher has more than 25 years of experience in energy technology, policy, and finance, including serving in the Clinton administration at the Department of Energy as Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and recently as a member of President Obama's Transition Team. Reicher came to Stanford in 2011 from Google, where he served since 2007 as Director of Climate Change and Energy Initiatives."

Representing Gov. Romney's campaign is Linda Gillespie Stuntz, a founding parter of Stuntz, Davis & Staffier. From her bio: "Her law practice includes energy and environmental regulation, as well as matters relating to government support of technology development and transfer. Ms. Stuntz served as Deputy Secretary of the [U.S.] Department of Energy under President George H.W. Bush. ... [She] played a principal role in the development and enactment of the Energy Policy Act of 1992."

Moderating the panel will be Gerald Seib, Washington editor of The Wall Street Journal.

With the two debaters speaking as official surrogates, the campaigns appear to be moving forward into more substantive debate about energy policy. The Hill noted that significance in an E2-Wire post on Monday and an earlier preview, "Obama, Romney campaigns to square off over energy."

President Obama's campaign issue page, "The President's Record on Energy and the Environment" actually leads with his environmental priorities and his promotion of clean energy,  claiming an "all of the above" strategy to move toward energy independence.

Gov. Romney's campaign webpage is categorized simply as "Energy," with a kicker, "Pro-Jobs, Pro-Market, Pro-American." The page begins with an attack on President Obama's record, following with "Mitt's Plan": Significant Regulatory Reform, Increasing Production, and Research and Development.

A continuing hot-button issue is the Administration's inaction on the Keystone XL pipeline, a project intended to move oil from the Alberta oil sands -- and from North Dakota and Montana's  Bakken formation -- to U.S. refineries. The Washington Post has been running an informative and balanced series on the pipeline, "Keystone: Down the Line." The latest segment is, "Canadian town gears up for Keystone XL."

One envies the reporters' road trip, although how do you get a hotel room in Williston?

Speaking of North Dakota, the unemployment rate is 3 percent and CNBC just ranked it the No. 5 State for Doing Business, thanks largely to the energy-fueled economy.

Business Roundtable strongly supports approval of the pipeline for strengthening U.S. energy security, giving a shot to the economy, and producing thousands of jobs. But approval would also demonstrate that the private sector can actually get something done without the federal government blocking the energy or infrastructure project. Or, in another way, that the federal government can actually something down.

Or, as the day's news reminds us, without environment special interests blocking the project. From The New York TimesGreen Blog, "Green Groups Plan Legal Challenge to Arctic Drilling."

The debaters will have plenty more to talk about, including hydrofacturing, nuclear power, renewable energy, and energy efficiency. BRT's "Taking Action" report outlines our member-CEOs' positions under the rubric, "Reliable, Affordable Energy."





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