The 2016 Candidates on Energy Policy

By Jeff Postelwait, Online Editor

The 2016 presidential election is shaping up to be a crowded field, with 17 Republicans and five Democrats.

With so many candidates now declared, I scoured their websites for any mentions of energy policy. I included in my rundown all candidates from both parties who officially launched their campaigns as of the time of the writing. In this printed piece because of space limitations, however, I’ve included only the top three polling Democrats and the 10 Republican candidates who are most likely to be selected to participate in the first debate to be aired by Fox News on August 6th.

The Democrats

Hillary Clinton –

Former Secretary of State, Former U.S. Senator

Clinton’s site has a section titled “Power the economy of tomorrow,” which mentions that every two minutes an American household installs solar power. Her site calls for the U.S. to become “a clean energy superpower.”

“America must lead the world in developing and deploying new clean energy sources that will power our economy, protect the health of our families, and address the global threat of climate change,” according to Clinton’s site. “States, cities, and rural communities are investing in a future built on clean and efficient energy that spurs small business growth, reduces pollution, creates good jobs and lowers energy bills.”

Bernie Sanders – U.S. Senator, Vermont

As background, Sanders cites his opposition to the Keystone natural gas pipeline and his involvement in the economic stimulus package that helped install energy efficiency upgrades and solar panels.

“The United States must lead the world in tackling climate change to make certain that this planet is habitable for our children and grandchildren. We must transform our energy system away from polluting fossil fuels and towards energy efficiency and sustainability. Millions of homes and buildings need to be weatherized and we need to greatly accelerate technological progress in wind and solar power generation,” according to Sanders’ website.

Jim Webb – Former U.S. Senator, Virginia

Having only recently announced his candidacy, Webb’s website was short on details and mentioned energy policy only tangentially.

There is mention of investing in the country’s infrastructure, but the electric infrastructure is not specifically noted.

The Republicans

Jeb Bush – Former Florida Governor

At a campaign event in New Hampshire, Jeb Bush said he favored phasing out government subsidies across the energy industry, including those for oil, natural gas, solar and wind power. “I don’t think we should pick winners and losers,” he was quoted as saying in the New York Times.

In 2006, as governor of Florida, Bush signed the Florida Energy Act, which established incentives for renewable energy production.

Ben Carson – Neurosurgeon

Carson’s website focuses on issues other than energy policy and the environment. In public statements, Carson has called climate change “irrelevant.”

“Responsible human beings must be concerned about our surroundings and what we will pass on to future generations. However, to use climate change as an excuse not to develop our God-given resources makes little sense,” he wrote in a Washington Times editorial.

Chris Christie – New Jersey Governor

According to Christie’s website, “we are in the midst of a North American Energy Renaissance. The U.S needs to build the necessary infrastructure to get product to markets and ensure the smooth functioning of our energy markets, lift the ban on crude oil exports and allow markets to function as well as rationalize the country’s approach to regulation to make sure it is fair. We can also ensure the U.S can maximize its energy resources in an environmentally sound manner by developing greater technological capabilities.”

Ted Cruz – U.S. Senator, Texas

As senator, Ted Cruz has given speeches in favor of what he calls “A Great American Energy Renaissance.”

“Yes, President Obama should drop his political opposition to the Keystone XL oil pipeline. But we also need to think bigger than a single pipeline. Here we stand at the edge of an energy revolution that is sweeping the nation, providing an untold number of new opportunities and well-paying jobs,” Cruz said at the Heritage Action for America’s 2014 Conservative Policy Summit.

Specifically, Cruz favors loosening federal regulations on hydraulic fracturing, repealing the renewable fuel standard, improving energy infrastructure development processes, excluding greenhouse gases from EPA regulation and increasing oil and gas exploration on federal lands.

Mike Huckabee – Former Arkansas Governor

Huckabee’s policy page calls for a self-reliant U.S. energy policy.

“We have hundreds of years of available energy underneath our feet and all around us,” according to his page. “Partisan politics have kept us from Arctic exploration, energy opportunities along the Outer Continental Shelf, building the Keystone pipeline, and new sources of natural gas. Wind, solar, and renewable energy have great potential, occur naturally and flow from inexhaustible sources.”

His website says Huckabee supports an all-of-the-above energy policy.

John Kasich – Ohio Governor

As governor of Ohio, John Kasich has proffered a detailed energy policy, which included reviewing the state’s transmission and distribution to see if it was adequate, allowing cogeneration to qualify as renewable energy, reviewing smart grid technologies and expanding consumer choice for renewable energy. His website for his presidential campaign does not have an issues section, however.

Rand Paul – U.S. Senator, Kentucky

The energy policy section of Rand Paul’s site says he favors new energy development, cutting red tape and lowering energy costs.

“Washington’s bureaucratic regulations, corporate subsidies, and excessive taxation have made it unnecessarily difficult for energy developers to take advantage of new and innovative forms of cheap and clean energy,” according to Paul’s site. “Cutting the red tape and encouraging energy freedom, new technologies, and discoveries will be a priority in my administration. Like all other sectors of the economy, allowing businesses to compete in a free market will not only produce the most efficient forms of energy, but will also pass along the cost savings to the consumer.”

Marco Rubio – U.S. Senator, Florida

In his GOP Response to the 2013 State of the Union Address, Rubio said, “One of the best ways to encourage growth is through our energy industry. Of course solar and wind energy should be a part of our energy portfolio. But God also blessed America with abundant coal, oil and natural gas. Instead of wasting more taxpayer money on so-called “clean energy” companies like Solyndra, let’s open up more federal lands for safe and responsible exploration. And let’s reform our energy regulations so that they’re reasonable and based on common sense.”

Donald Trump – Real Estate Magnate

His campaign site does not mention energy policy, but his public statements have favored expanding fossil fuel exploitation and building out the nation’s infrastructure.

“Honestly, we’re taking oil from Canada. We’re paying Canada a lot of money. We don’t even need Canadian oil if we did it right. The really right way is to drill our own oil. We have so much of it we don’t know what to do. Between natural gas and oil and lots of other things, we should be doing our own,” Trump told Greta Van Susteren in an interview.

Scott Walker – Wisconsin Governor

At the time of this writing, Walker’s website contains nothing on his energy policy stances. In his most recent State of the State address, Walker said he would sue the federal government over proposed energy regulations.

“Top-down regulations and mandates from the federal government get in the way of innovation and growth in Wisconsin and states like ours. Therefore, I am working with our new Attorney General to prepare a lawsuit challenging the newly proposed federal energy regulations. These proposals could have a devastating impact on Wisconsin because we are so heavily dependent on manufacturing,” he said.



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