The Democrats have released an energy platform focused on an "all-of the-above" strategy that leans heavily on clean energy to create jobs and only briefly mentions fossil fuels, such as natural gas.
"We can move towards a sustainable energy-independent future if we harness all of America's great natural resources. That means an all-of-the-above approach to developing America's many energy resources, including wind, solar, biofuels, geothermal, hydropower, nuclear, oil, clean coal and natural gas," the Democratic National Committee (DNC) said in the party's national platform, "Moving America Forward."
"We can further cut our reliance on oil with increased energy efficiency in buildings, industry and homes, and through the promotion of advanced vehicles, fuel economy standards, and the greater use of natural gas in transportation."
But "harnessing our natural gas resources needs to be done in a safe and responsible manner," the DNC said. The Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management and the Environmental Protection Agency are working on rules pertaining to the control of emissions from oil and gas operations, and the disclosure of chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing of shale gas deposits (see Daily GPI, May 7).
"We will continue to advocate for the use of this clean fossil fuel [gas], while ensuring that public and environmental health and workers' safety are protected," the DNC said.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, one of the Obama administration's chief policymakers on energy issues, was expected to speak at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC, Tuesday. President Obama is scheduled to accept his party's nomination as the Democratic candidate Wednesday night.
The Democrats' energy platform further said that "we support more infrastructure investment to speed the transition to cleaner fuels in the transportation sector. And we are expediting the approval process to build out critical oil and gas lines essential to transporting our energy for consumers."
But unlike the Republicans, the Democrats did not propose opening offshore areas to drilling in their platform. "Democrats are committed to balancing environmental protection with development, and that means preserving sensitive public lands from exploration, like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Pacific West Coast, Gulf of Maine, and other irreplaceable national landscapes," according to the Democratic platform.
Democrats said they also would cut tax subsidies to oil and gas producers. "Republican energy policy is full of empty rhetoric and bad ideas that would make their Big Oil donors even richer at the expense of the middle class. Republicans would keep giving billions of taxpayer dollars a year to profitable oil companies and increase costs on consumers. Democrats will fight to cut tax subsidies for Big Oil while promoting job growth in the clean energy sector, so we can cut the deficit and increase jobs and growth in America."
Last week presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney unveiled an energy plan that he said would open more federal lands to oil and gas drilling and would make North America energy independent by 2020 -- the final year of his second term in office -- if he is elected this November.
Romney's plan is focused on North American oil, gas, coal and nuclear energy, with only a passing nod to solar, energy and other renewables (see Daily GPI, Aug. 24).
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