Which Presidential Frontrunner Is The Best For Energy Policy? by Jessica Ruane, OilPrice.com
The future of America’s energy policies will heavily depend on who our next president is. Each presidential candidate has strong views on energy policy. Both democratic candidates Sanders and Clinton strongly support the need to move towards developing clean and renewable energy sources. On the other side of the aisle, republican frontrunners Trump and Cruz have taken the opposite stand, and they want to focus resources solely on more drilling, fracking, and lifting regulations on nuclear power and domestic energy exploration. So for those who have a vested interest in crude oil, you’re likely going to side with the stance of the republican candidates. If you’re all for renewables, the democrats share your vision.
As you know, the factors that influence oil prices are complex, but the amount of oil the U.S. can produce is a major one. Each candidate has strong opinions (and policies) on domestic drilling, so our next POTUS could dramatically affect the way this industry swings in the future.
Here’s where each of the four strongest presidential candidates stand on energy policy in America.
“I will work toward a 100 percent clean energy system and create millions of jobs. We have little time to aggressively cut carbon emissions. Transitioning to a 100 percent clean energy system for electricity, heating, and transportation is possible and affordable. It will create millions of jobs, clean up our air and water and decrease dependence on foreign oil.”
Sanders is the candidate for environmental enthusiasts. Mother Jones called him the “best candidate on climate change.” He has also been endorsed by national environmental organization, Friends Of The Earth.
- Ban offshore drilling, Arctic drilling, natural gas exports, and mountaintop removal coal mining
- Stop attempts to lift the ban on crude oil exports
- Ban fracking through the U.S.
- Expand access to solar and wind energy
- Invest in geothermal energy
- Halt nuclear power plant license renewals in the United States and invest in wind, solar, and geothermal energy solutions
- Introduced bills like the Residential Energy Savings Act, the Green Jobs Act, and the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program
- His Low Income Solar Act would provide loans to solar developers to give low-income families access to solar power
- Helped form a public-private partnership, Efficiency Vermont, and Burlington, Vermont became the first city in the U.S. to run off 100 percent renewable energy
- Has partnered with the National Guard to improve military energy efficiency to make Vermont a leader in clean-energy
- In 2011, Bernie announced a three-year, $15 million federal commitment to open the first-ever New England national laboratory
How Oil Prices Would Be Affected
Sanders is by far the most aggressive candidate against oil. The only fossil fuel subsidy he supports is the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) that helps low income families with their heating bills. If his plan were passed, the U.S. would be unable to drill, frack, or export oil and natural gas. Therefore, the price of crude oil would likely increase.
“On my first day as President, I’ll set two big goals. I want the U.S. to have half a billion solar panels by 2020. And I want us to generate enough renewable electricity to power every home in America in the next 10 years. With the right investments, we’ll create good-paying jobs and make America the world’s clean energy superpower.”
Clinton is a big supporter of solar. The prominent environmental group, League of Conservation Voters, has endorsed her. While certain aspects of Hillary Clinton’s background may be questionable, she is making a strong push towards renewable energy sources.
- Have every U.S. home powered by renewable energy by 2027
- Ban offshore drilling
- Implement $30 billion plan to help coal communities transition away from coal production and move towards developing clean energy
- Implement a three-month gas tax holiday, where the 18-cent per gallon federal tax on gas between Memorial Day and Labor Day would be lifted
- Impose a “windfall profits tax” on oil companies
- Begin negotiations for a North American Climate Compact between the United States, Canada, and Mexico
- Set ambitious emissions reduction goals
- Develop common infrastructure standards across the continent
- Invest in low-carbon transportation
- Set continent-wide reduction standards for methane
- Work to strengthen national pipeline safety regulations
- Create a new national infrastructure bank to invest in new infrastructure projects
- Make the federal permitting process for clean energy more efficient in order to expand access to it
- Has come out against the Keystone pipeline
- Repeatedly voted for legislation that extended the production tax credit for electricity produced from renewable energy sources
- Proposed making current tax credits for wind and solar production permanent
- Has been criticized by environmental groups for supporting fossil fuel production and failing to take a strong stance on lifting the ban on exporting crude oil
How Would Oil Prices Be Affected?
Clinton has been very careful not to upset big oil. This is probably because her campaign has received million from fossil fuel lobbyists. She also supports natural gas. For the most part, she’s played nice with the oil industry, so prices probably won’t be too affected, although her recent swing to the left on many environmental issues has oil companies worried that they’ll lose an ally. It remains unclear whether her stronger environmental policies are just a ploy for votes, or if these are lasting changes.
“I’m in favor of nuclear energy, very strongly in favor of nuclear energy.”
“We are going to bring the coal industry back 100 percent.”
- Remove the cap and trade tax that the Obama administration has passed
- Wants to use the natural gas in the Marcellus Shale
- Plans to cut off U.S. support in Libya unless they give the U.S. 50 percent of their oil for the next 25 years
- Wants to lift permitting restrictions on drilling for oil, and heavily increase drilling in the U.S.
- Wants to build up domestic supplies of oil and natural gas to reduce our dependence on OPEC, which he blames for the volatility in global oil prices
- Increase fracking
- Supports the Keystone pipeline
- Make major improvements to the country’s infrastructure
- Has described wind energy as “not good economically” and “destroying shorelines all over the world”
- Legally fought to prevent the construction of wind farms in Scotland, and won a lawsuit to stop an offshore wind farm in Ireland
- Said wind farms are “disgusting looking, but even worse they are bad for people’s health”
- Said that solar energy is an “unproven technology”
- Has been criticized for failing to give specifics on his energy policies
- Has denied global warming
How Would Oil Prices Be Affected?
Trump has stated that one of his primary goals as president is to drive down the price of oil. The viability of his plans is questionable, to say the least. With recent statements that he wants to “cut the head off of ISIS and take their oil,” and his vow to break up OPEC, it’s hard to imagine any of his proposals being implemented.
“According to the satellite data, there has been no significant global warming for the past 18 years.”
“We are on the verge of an American energy renaissance, and I will lift the regulations that are prohibiting exploration, the Keystone pipeline, and job creation.”
- Increase “responsible energy exploration” including fracking, offshore drilling, and building the Keystone pipeline
- Broaden energy development on private land
- Block the Obama administration’s “Clean Power Plan,” a set