GOP platform calls for strong US energy policy

The Republican Party has approved a 2000 US presidential campaign platform that calls for a strengthening of the domestic energy industry. The strategy involves, among other things, exploration and development of the Alaskan coastal plain east of Prudhoe Bay field.


Patrick Crow
OGJ Online

WASHINGTON, DC�The Republican Party has approved a 2000 US presidential campaign platform that calls for a strengthening of the domestic energy industry. The strategy involves, among other things, exploration and development of the Alaskan coastal plain east of Prudhoe Bay field.

The platform sets general goals for the party if nominee George W. Bush is elected president.

The document said, at the beginning of the Clinton administration, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries was in retreat and "gasoline was affordable. Today," it continued, "gas[oline] prices have skyrocketed, and oil imports are at all-time highs.

"Foreign oil now accounts for one third of our total trade deficit. Meanwhile, domestic oil production has fallen 17% over the last 8 years, as vast areas of the continental US have been put off-limits to energy leasing�although we depend on oil and natural gas for 65% of our energy supply.

"Additional oil reserves and deposits of low-sulfur coal may be out of reach because of unilateral designation of new national monuments."

The platform said, "The Environmental Protection Agency has been shutting off America's energy pipeline with a regulatory blitz that has only just begun. In fact, 36 oil refineries have closed in just the last 8 years, while not a single new refinery has been built in this country in the last quarter-century.

"EPA's patchwork of regulations has driven fuel prices higher in some areas than in others and has made energy supplies no longer fungible. What meets EPA's standards in one city may not be legally sold in another. The result has been localized shortages and sharp price spikes, as suppliers scramble to get acceptable fuels to the markets where they are needed."

The platform said the Clinton administration "has turned its back on the two sources that produce virtually all of the nation's emission-free power: nuclear and hydro, the sources for 30% of the country's electricity."

It said, "If we do not carefully plan for our energy needs, the entire economy could be significantly weakened. The Republican Congress has moved to deregulate the electricity industry and empower consumers through a competitive market�but congressional Democrats are holding up the process, and the administration has provided no leadership."

Strategy
The platform said the US needs a national energy strategy to increase domestic supplies of coal, oil, and natural gas.

"Our country does have ample energy resources waiting to be developed, and there is simply no substitute for an increase in their domestic production."

It said the US should improve permit processing and management for oil, gas, and coalbed methane leases. It recommended tax incentives for energy production and "price certainty to keep small domestic stripper producers in operation."

The platform said the US should "promote environmentally responsible exploration and development of oil and gas reserves on federally-owned land, including the coastal plain of Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge."

It also advocated a northeastern US home heating oil reserve, clean coal technology, tax credits for renewable energy sources (including wind and open-loop biomass facilities), the existing ethanol tax credit, and a tax incentive for residential use of solar power.

"This agenda will reduce America's dependence on foreign oil, help consumers by lowering energy prices, and result in lower carbon emissions than would result from the current administration's policies. All in all, it is a dramatic reversal of the nation's present course, and that's just what America needs: a balanced portfolio of energy options that is stable, secure, and affordable, with minimal impact on the environment."

Environment
The platform said environmental conservation remains important.

"The lessons we have learned over the last three decades, along with the steady advance of environmental technology, gives us the opportunity to explore better ways to achieve even higher goals."

But it said, "Economic prosperity and environmental protection must advance together. Scare tactics and 'scapegoating' of legitimate economic interests undermine support for environmental causes and, what is worse, can discredit actual threats to health and safety."

The platform said environmental regulations should be based on the best science, peer-reviewed, and available for public consideration.

"We condemn the current administration's policy of resorting to confrontation first. Instead, we should work cooperatively to ensure that our environmental policy meets the particular needs of geographic regions and localities.

"Environmental policy should focus on achieving results�cleaner air, water, and lands�not crafting bureaucratic processes. Where environmental standards are violated, the government should take consistent enforcement."

The platform attacked the Clinton administration's support of the Kyoto Protocol on global warming.

"Its deliberations were not based on the best science; its proposed agreements would be ineffective and unfair inasmuch as they do not apply to the developing world; and the current administration is still trying to implement it, without authority of law. More research is needed to understand both the cause and the impact of global warming."

The platform said more attention should be given local concerns about the management of 657 million acres of federally owned lands.

"We will change the operating culture of the federal agencies that manage public lands, giving a greater role to states and to their political subdivisions in order to foster a creative partnership with the American people."

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