The National Journal has compiled responses from several environmentalists, businesspeople and politicians about what energy issues are at stake in today’s election. Here are a few excerpts.
The 2012 election cycle is, in truth entirely about picking winners and losers — with the Republicans doubling down on the past, and attacking common sense environmental standards and reform as a “War on Coal.” The future — not regulatory cost or the deficit — is what the GOP is trying to slow-down.
The single most-pressing energy issue will be access to affordable energy, furthered by an improved U.S. energy policy and a strong path toward energy self-sufficiency… If President Obama were re-elected and were to continue his policies to increase renewable energy and energy efficiency, he must ensure these technologies and supplies are affordable and efficacious for the average consumer. If Governor Romney were elected, he must ensure his policies to increase domestic production of oil, natural gas and coal are pursued with sound regulatory oversight. Principally, if a Romney Administration were to transfer most of the authority over energy production to state governments, states must be provided with adequate funding to carry out their regulatory duties and ensure safe energy development.
It should be clear that energy and economic growth are tightly linked and that abundant and affordable energy is essential to stimulate greater growth. Based on the past four years, it is doubtful that energy will be more affordable under a second Obama term. While federal offshore leases have returned to their pre-2010 spill levels, there remains great uncertainty about what policy positions will prevail post November 6 and how they will impact production and cost. The US is rich in oil and gas resources. If we give a higher priority to their development, imports will continue to go down and investments in good paying jobs will go up.
In office, President Obama has laid out bold plans to protect the environment and harness our energy resources. Unfortunately, until we get the economy back on track, it will be tough to put those objectives at the top of the public’s radar. The economy is the starting point. We need to get create a business climate that is conducive to growth and innovation so we can start moving forward on other important issues across the board.
As far as the House and Senate go, this election could decide some changes in policy.
House Energy and Commerce Chair Fred Upton is on the ballot in Michigan. He’s favored to win over Democratic challenger Mike O’Brien. If Upton wins and Republicans keep the House of Representatives, it’s likely the House’s positions on energy will stay the same over the next two years.
In the Senate, Energy and Natural Resources chair Jeff Bingaman (D-New Mexico) isn’t seeking re-election. If the Democrats retain control of the Senate, he’s expected to be replaced by Oregon Senator Ron Wyden. If Republicans take the Senate, it’s likely Alaskan Senator Lisa Murkowski will become chair. The committee’s recent legislation has focused on electricity reliability.