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A side-by-side comparison of Romney and Obama on energy and environment

Dan Farber, professor of law | April 23, 2012

I’ve put together a table of language from the issues sections of the official campaign websites dealing with energy and environment. I decided to use the candidate’s own language to avoid interposing my own views on the issues. Please keep in mind that the table uses their language, not mine.

Not surprisingly, the candidates frame issues differently and choose to address some issues rather than others. For example, Obama has an “environment” heading, while Romney has headings for “energy” and “regulation” but not for environment. Nevertheless, the issue-by-issue comparison is interesting.

Issue Romney Obama
Climate Change “Amend Clean Air Act to exclude carbon dioxide from its purview. [E]liminate the regulations promulgated in pursuit of the Obama administration’s costly and ineffective anti-carbon agenda.” Not discussed (!)
Alternative Energy “Concentrate alternative energy funding on basic research” “The President has announced the opening of public lands for investments in clean energy, and he has committed his administration to approve projects by the end of 2012 that will increase renewable generation capacity to power 3 million homes.”
Keystone Pipeline “Support construction of pipelines to bring Canadian oil to the United States.” “Rather than accept congressional Republicans’ arbitrary and rushed deadline to study the health, safety, and environmental consequences of the Keystone XL pipeline, the President rejected the project’s application.”
Environmental Policy “Ensure that environmental laws properly account for cost in regulatory process.” “Provide multi-year lead times before companies must come into compliance with onerous new environmental regulations.” “Under President Obama’s direction, the Environmental Protection Agency has issued the first-ever national standards for mercury emissions and other dangerous toxins from coal- and oil-fired power plants.”
Fossil Fuel Development(see also Public Lands) “Open America’s energy reserves for development” “President Obama is committed to putting in place an ‘all-of-the-above strategy’ to develop every available source of American energy while making sure we never have to choose between protecting our environment and strengthening our economy.”
Energy Efficiency Not discussed. “The President made an agreement with auto manufacturers to improve the overall fuel economy of the nation’s passenger auto fleet to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025—nearly twice the 27.5 miles per gallon standard that was in place when he took office.”
Public Lands “Create one-stop shop to streamline permitting process for approval of common activities.”“Implement fast-track procedures for companies with established safety records to conduct pre-approved activities in pre-approved areas.” “President Obama enacted the largest expansion of land and water conservation and protected wilderness in a generation.”


Cross-posted from the environmental law and policy blog Legal Planet.

Comments to “A side-by-side comparison of Romney and Obama on energy and environment

  1. Holy cow, if Romney gets elected I think I’ll emigrate. I knew his environmental policies were bad, but this is just frightening.

  2. I may have to walk back the previous comment. Romney is the only Republican candidate who didn’t take a harsh position on the EPA but he is not an advocate of regulation….

  3. I have spent most of the day studying up on Romney’s domestic agenda. I wanted to commend Professor Farber on this comparison. He did not cherry pick obscure quotes or specific gaffs from Romney. All of the quotes are listed right on his website.

  4. I may have to walk back the previous comment. Romney is the only Republican candidate who didn’t take a harsh position on the EPA but he is not an advocate of regulation….

  5. Romney has vowed to eliminate the EPA. It’s in his speeches & Q&A’s. This is a key differentiator.

  6. FACT #1: The Human Race Is Not Evolving Fast Enough To Save Ourselves From Global Warming.

    FACT #2: We have not improved socially, politically, economically, intellectually and morally since Sixth Century B.C. Athenians creatd Democracy.

    FACT #3: We are experiencing far too many repeats of our failures throughout history, such as oligarchs vs. demos, egregiously greedy and immoral leaders, corrupt politicians and judges, and never-ending wars.

    SOLUTION: Since no other institution can be relied upon to save the human race, our Academic class must implement a creative way to educate the Rest of Us class to achieve the next level of survival, or “Us” and “Them” shall never have a chance to evolve again.

  7. Romney could give a damn about environment – just as he doesn’t give a damn for dogs or the 99% of us “left behind”!

  8. Oligarch Romney obviously has sophists writing his mendacious rhetoric.

    In addition to that, the GOP is able to fool enough people all the time so that Romney has become a real threat to Obama’s second term.

    If enough women don’t join together to fight back to save the planet by guaranteeing acceptable long term future quality of life for their children, along with women’s rights for themselves, then far too many men will vote like zombies for everything the GOP tells them to vote for and destroy the long term future, and women’s rights, for certain.

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