Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, has unveiled his plan for energy, which he hopes to implement into action, soon after his election. The plan calls for some major changes in energy policy, including the use of federally owned land, that has been undeveloped.
Romney’s plan states that even though there is a massive revolution taking place in the oil and natural gas industries, and more wells are being drilled every day, the drilling and exploration on federally owned property plummeted last year. He blames this drop in exploration on President Obama’s administration, citing that Obama has intentionally tried to shut down oil, gas, and coal production in the push to get his own alternative energy agenda forced upon Americans.
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Since Obama took office, the amount of federal land which is available for exploration has decreased by 20%, and the number of permits given to companies to explore these lands has been reduced by 37%. Romney states that it now takes a total of 307 days to get a permit in order to drill a new well on these properties, which pushes production back even further.
Romney’s solution to this problem is to give the states control over the land in their jurisdiction. This would allow the state to issue a permit to a company who wished to explore on federal land, and would speed up the process of actually producing oil, natural gas, or coal from these properties. This would, in turn, increase indigenous production within the U.S. and lessen our dependency on O.P.E.C. for our oil.
Romney notes that states can cut the processing time for a permit to less than two weeks, citing North Dakota as an example. It takes only 10 days to get approved for a new well permit there, while in Colorado it is a 27 day process.
The report is also careful to point out that giving this process to the states will not pose any extra threat to the environment, but would actually lessen the potential risks. States would be more likely to be able to enforce regulations than a federal government would, simply because they know the issues faced within their state.
How does Obama figure into all of this? He claims U.S. oil production is up, and for once he is telling the truth. He talks about how his administration has helped increase America’s oil production, and this is not totally true. Obama fails to mention that George Bushes administration actually issued the permits for the wells which are now filling the U.S. reserves with crude.
Obama also claims he is investing in renewable energy. This statement is also true. He suggests that the search for renewable energy is going well, and gives his administration a pat on the back for how they have helped make it possible. This statement brings to mind the way funds were managed from the stimulus bill to invest in renewable energy. The most notable event on the log was the half billion dollar loan guarantee to Solyndra, which would have allowed them to build massive solar panels. However, the company went bankrupt, and there was no continuing stream of energy from the panels they were supposed to produce.
Romney’s plan would be great news for companies in the oil and natural gas sector. These corporations, such as Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK), Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM), and Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) would be able to move forward with oil exploration much faster. With a shorter wait time for permits to drill, they could boost oil production in the U.S. much faster, and Romney projects that we could be energy independent by 2020.