Thu August 23, 2012

Romney Calls for Streamlining Drilling on Western Lands

If elected president, Mitt Romney says he’d push to fast-track oil and gas development on western public lands. 

The call comes as part of Romney’s newly announced energy policy platform which he outlined today in a speech in Hobbs, New Mexico.

The Governor pledged his plan would make the country energy independent by 2020, by ramping up off-shore oil drilling and building the stalled Keystone Pipeline linking the US with the Canadian oil sands.

"Those opportunities have existed for a long time, we just haven't taken advantage of them," Romney said.  

Closer to home, Romney said he wants states to take over most of the oil and gas permitting process on US public lands because he says the federal system is too slow.

"In North Dakota, it takes ten days to get a permit for a new well, in Colorado, it takes 27 days," he said. "That’s to get on state land or private land, but do you know how long it takes the federal government to get your permit on federal land?  On average, 307 days." 

Western-based oil and gas companies who have been at odds with the Obama Administration praised the plan. But former Denver Mayor and current Obama Campaign co-chair Federico Pena says under the president, oil production is already at a 14 year high.

"And by the way these are very much the same plans that failed under the Bush Administration and will not get us to energy independence," Pena said.

The two campaigns have sparred lately over energy – and in particular green energy and the wind production tax credit - which has garnered bi-partisan support from Colorado’s delegation.  President Obama wants it extended while Mr. Romney has said he’d end it. 

Uncertainty over its future has led to sizable layoffs in the past week at wind plants in Colorado and Iowa.

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