Romney says later that he is referring to clean coal. He attacked Barack Obama for not allowing enough permits for oil and gas industry on government land. Obama’s rebuttal was simply, “Who thinks ExxonMobil needs more money?” From Obama’s point of view the gas and oil industries receive “corporate welfare” and cuts need to be made to these tax breaks. Although the debate was focused on economics, viewers could still grasp what the candidates support in terms of energy policy and values.
Romney elaborated on his plans for domestic energy saying that he supports off-shore drilling in Alaska, the Keystone XL pipeline, and wants to double the amount of permits on government lands. He defends his decisions by saying that America needs to be energy independent. Romney goes further and says that his initiatives will create jobs.
Obama’s main focus on energy policy was to eliminate tax breaks for wealthy corporations, especially oil. Obama says, “My attitude is, if you got a corporate jet, you can probably afford to pay full freight, not get a special break for it.” According to Romney, Obama has given 50 years’ worth of tax breaks to renewable energy. Romney calculated from the $2.8 billion tax breaks given yearly to oil.
Romney goes further and compares Obama’s stimulus for renewable energy to picking losers. “…you don’t just pick the winners and losers, you pick the losers all right?” Romney then specifically names Solyndra, Fisker, Tesla, and Ener1. Obama did not comment about green energy. Though, Obama does not support all the breaks and loopholes that oil and gas industry are receiving.
What does this mean for the environment? Energy is an important political issue directly tied to the environment. According to the EPA, US greenhouse gas emissions rose 3.2 percent from 2009 to 2010. It is well-known that climate change is directly affected by greenhouse gas emissions. Emissions from oil and gas are known to affect the atmosphere and trap heat.
Both candidates can agree that domestic energy opportunities need to be explored. However, Romney and Obama differ on their approaches to become energy independent. There are more debates scheduled before the presidential election and environmental topics are sure to come up again. Tune in October 16, and October 22 to hear more from the candidates and make an informed decision in the election this year.
For a full transcript of the debate visit this site.