Energy And Election 2016: Where The Presidential Candidates Stand

Energy is the very lifeblood running through the veins of the American economy and an issue with far-reaching consequences domestically and abroad.

As the 2016 presidential race heats up, it is important to understand where each candidate stands on the topic of energy. Much of the debate has centered on the Keystone XL Pipeline – the extension to an already existing pipeline that would transport oil from Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast – hydraulic fracturing or “fracking,” current and future Environmental Protection Agency regulations regarding emissions and renewable energy sources, and American oil exports.

Presented below are front-runners in each party and their known positions on various energy and infrastructure topics:

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KEYSTONE XL PIPELINE

Republican Candidates

 Trump: In favor of the pipeline, noting its construction and transportation of oil would not cause any detrimental effects to the environment. Tweeted in 2011 that the pipeline would add 20,000 jobs, lower gas prices, and make the U.S. more energy independent from foreign oil.

Carson: Keystone XL Pipeline is “perfectly safe” and should be built.

Bush: In favor of building pipeline, citing a national GDP increase of $3 billion and the creation of 42,000 jobs during construction.

Rubio: Issued a 2012 statement that Pres. Obama was making a mistake not moving forward with the Keystone pipeline, emphasizing the pipeline is a step toward more jobs, energy independence, and national security.

Democratic Candidates

Clinton: Declared her opposition to the Keystone pipeline on Sept. 22, saying it is “a distraction from the important work we have to do to combat climate change.” Then Secretary of State Clinton said KXL was a routine pipeline project which would probably be approved

Sanders: Strongly opposed to the Keystone project, stressing the pipeline would,“transport some of the dirtiest fossil fuel in the world.”

EPA REGULATIONS

Republican Candidates

Trump: Critical of EPA over August spill of mine waste in Colorado, emphasizing environmental regulations should be enacted at the local level.

Carson: In May, stated climate debate is a distraction from conversations about the role of EPA regulations and a general responsibility to protect the environment. Believes EPA should work with businesses, industries, and educational institutions to discover eco-friendly methods of developing energy resources.

Bush: In energy plan, urged energy resource development must be safe to humans and the environment, however President Obama has enacted “excessive rules.” He argues state and local governments should have energy authority, which encourages domestic energy investments. Bush wishes to repeal many current EPA regulations, including the Clean Power Plan and coal ash disposal rules.

Rubio: Critical of EPA’s Clean Power Plan, emphasizing current regulations are too costly and will cause detrimental impacts on affordable energy.

Democratic Candidates

Clinton: Favors increased EPA regulations that encourage use of renewable energy sources, and has a goal of maintaining one-third of American electricity with renewable energy by 2027.

Sanders: In 2011, voted against legislation that would limit the EPA’s regulation authority. Supports EPA’s Clean Power Plan and would continue Pres. Obama’s environmental protection efforts.

HYDRAULIC FRACTURING

Republican Candidates

Trump: Stated via Twitter in 2012 that “Fracking will lead to American energy independence. With price of natural gas continuing to drop, we can be at a tremendous advantage.”

Carson: No known position taken.

Bush: Energy policies should be regulated at the local and state levels, encouraging hydraulic fracturing for domestic investments, job creation, and economic growth.

 Rubio: In a preview of his energy policy, Rubio stated states and local governments should regulate energy production and environmental policies, including hydraulic fracturing.

Democratic Candidates

Clinton: Hilary would “phase out” hydraulic fracturing on public lands as part of America’s energy transition to renewable energy.

Sanders: Home state of Vermont was first to ban hydraulic fracturing, stating to The Huffington Post in an op-ed with Vermont governor Peter Shumlin, “moving forward aggressively in energy efficiency and sustainable energy is a win, win, win proposition.”

CRUDE OIL EXPORTS

Republican Candidates

Trump: No known position taken.

Carson: In favor of lifting all bans on energy exports, including crude oil.

Rubio: Lifting the ban on crude oil exports would increase wages, add jobs, lower gas prices, and strengthen national security.

Bush: Heavily supports lifting the ban on crude oil exports, noting it would create hundreds of thousands of jobs and lower energy costs.

Democratic Candidates

Clinton: Currently opposes the House GOP bill that would lift the ban on crude oil exports. Clinton would be open to lifting the ban if there was a broader energy plan in place that included concessions from the oil and gas industry.

Sanders: No known position taken. 

As the 2016 election season approaches, each candidate will take positions for or against popular (and unpopular) energy issues. However, it is crucial to ensure a sustainable and efficient energy policy for safeguarding both the future of the nation’s economy and environment.

Mr. McCown is a former government executive, attorney, and public policy expert. To learn more, visit him at brighammccown.com or follow @BAMcCown.

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