Last week, the University of Texas at Austin released an energy poll indicating that voters favor President Obama's stance on energy policy over former Governor Romney's. In light of increasing controversial energy policy decisions over the last four years, such as the Keystone XL Pipeline and the Solyndra loan-guarantee blow up, the survey illustrates that energy and environmental concerns have leapt to the forefront in this upcoming election.
In regards to energy policy, Romney wants to transfer federal power to the states to cut down on processing time. In particular, Romney has proposed stripping the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating greenhouse gasses and the Department of Interior's ability to lease and issue permits for drilling on federal lands and waters. Additionally, Romney would eliminate the production tax credit for wind projects and keep tax incentives and tax breaks for oil and gas drilling. And, Romney has declared that on the first day of his presidency, he will approve the Keystone XL Pipeline that will serve to transport oil from the Alberta oil sands in Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.
Obama, on the other hand, supports increasing the jurisdiction of the EPA, especially in regulating carbon emissions and negotiating the closure of aging coal plants. Obama has advocated raising the federal standards for fuel efficiency of cars and light trucks and maintaining incentives for renewable energy including wind and solar-powered generation.
Contrary to his recent conversation in the presidential debates, Obama's energy policies have been remarkably environmental friendly. In the second presidential debate, Obama reminded voters that he has increased oil production to its highest in 16 years while simultaneously neglecting to address the steps he has taken on behalf of the environment.
In fact, in the last four years the administration has embarked on a suite of pro-environment programs and legislation. Under Obama the EPA has targeted improved efficiency of vehicles, implemented stricter adherence to drilling regulations, delayed the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline to investigate its consequences, and announced $1 billion in tax credits and grants for alternative-energy cars and trucks, to name a few. Additionally, NASA and NOAA launched the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP) satellite program in October of 2011, which offers next-generation environmental watch capabilities.
Despite its absence in the presidential election campaigns, climate change and environmental protection has seen increasing support, which correlates with the energy poll that favors Obama’s policies. This tells us that Americans care a great deal about the threat of global warming, and the solution that lies with clean energy.