HOBBS, N.M., Aug. 23 (UPI) -- Presumptive Republican U.S. presidential nominee Mitt Romney Thursday outlined proposals for energy independence by 2020, with an emphasis on fossil fuels.
In a summary of his energy platform white paper provided by his campaign, Romney lays out a six-point agenda: Empower states to control offshore energy development; open offshore areas for energy development; pursue a North American energy partnership; ensure accurate assessment of energy resources; restore transparency and fairness to permitting and regulation; and facilitate private sector-led development of new energy technologies.
The former Massachusetts governor will push his vision during a campaign stop Thursday at Watson Truck & Supply in Hobbs, N.M.
"I have a vision for an America that is an energy super power, rapidly increasing our own production and partnering with our allies Canada and Mexico to achieve energy independence on this continent," Romney says in the position paper. "If I am elected president, that vision will become a reality by the end of my second term."
Romney said his energy plan would provide "benefits throughout our economy."
"Our trade deficit will shrink, our dollar will strengthen, and tens of billions of dollars will flow to the treasury," he said. "Perhaps most importantly, we will experience a manufacturing resurgence that delivers more jobs and more take-home pay for middle-class families across the country."
Romney's position paper advocates giving individual states the power to "establish processes to oversee the development and production of all forms of energy on federal lands within their borders, excluding only lands specially designated off-limits."
Whatever state rules are put in place "will be deemed to satisfy all requirements of federal law," Romney proposes.
"Federal agencies will certify state processes as adequate, according to established criteria that are sufficiently broad, to afford the states maximum flexibility to ascertain what is most appropriate ... ."
When it comes to off-shore resources, Romney says he would establish a five-year leasing plan "that aggressively opens new areas for development beginning with those off the coast of Virginia and the Carolinas."
Safeguards for offshore drilling would be "implemented in a manner designed to support rather than block exploration and production."
"Since Day 1, the Obama administration has worked systematically to shut down the development of" the outer continental shelf's resources, Romney's position paper states. "The administration has canceled more leases than it has held and slowed the rate of permitting by over 60 percent. As a result, offshore oil production declined 14 percent last year and production in the Gulf of Mexico this year will be 25 percent below what had been expected before the Obama polices took effect.
"Beyond the Gulf of Mexico, President Obama has stifled efforts at exploration entirely."
Romney proposes "modernizing America's complex environmental statutes, regulations and permitting processes," which he says is "crucial to ensuring the nation can develop its resources safely and efficiently."
When it comes to "new technologies," Romney says government investment in research should be "across the full spectrum of energy-related technologies, not picking winners in the market."
Romney said he would encourage market penetration and competition among all energy sources by eliminating regulatory barriers to the diversification of the electrical grid, fuel systems and vehicle fleets.
Romney said he wants to "revitalize nuclear power by equipping the [Nuclear Regulatory Commission] to approve new designs and to license approved reactor designs on approved sites within two years."
He said the federal government should ensure a level playing field "instead of distorting" it.
"The same policies that will open access to land for oil, gas and coal development can also open access for the construction of wind, solar and hydropower facilities," he says in the position paper.
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