Mitt Romney sets an ambitious goal with his pledge to achieve U.S. energy independence by 2020. It’s just too bad his plan relies almost entirely on fossil fuels and largely ignores the solid promise of clean energy.
Romney’s plan, rolled out Thursday in solar-friendly New Mexico, focuses heavily on oil, gas and, most unnecessarily, coal. The presumptive Republican presidential nominee promises to expand drilling on federal lands and to roll back environmental rules his campaign adviser Ed Gillespie says are “destroying the coal industry.”
When it comes to renewable sources such as solar and wind, Romney’s plan says more about what he won’t do -- namely, provide any more of the subsidies and loan guarantees that have allowed those technologies to gain a foothold. Instead, he offers to relax barriers he says are stymying clean energy and expand government funding of research. We also favor supporting clean-energy research, but question Romney’s assertion that simply “streamlining” regulations and permitting will somehow catapult clean-energy projects.