Opinion and Viewpoint

SCHMIDT: Romney energy policy best

November 3, 2012

Schmidt“We must vigorously embrace and develop all of our domestic energy sources,” according to presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Indiana is blessed with abundant energy resources. We have a 300-year supply of coal. A substantial part of the 214 million barrels of oil and 4.7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the Illinois Basin sits in southwestern Indiana. We have even more natural gas locked away as shale gas, coal bed methane and landfill gas.

Indiana has outstanding wind and biomass resources. We have 18 biofuel refineries ready to process our corn and soybeans into ethanol and biodiesel. We have solar and hydro resources, as well as the next generation of nuclear power technology.

In short, Indiana has the energy resources we need to power our economy.

Our abundant energy resources historically have provided Indiana with electricity rates among the lowest in the country—powering business, creating jobs and providing comfort at home. To continue to realize the benefits of our energy resources, Indiana needs government policies that promote an “all of the above” energy policy.

Unfortunately, only one of our presidential candidates is serious about such a strategy.

When Romney argues for developing “all of our domestic energy sources,” he embraces an “all of the above” energy policy. He wants more domestic oil made available for consumers and more natural gas drawn from the newly discovered shale gas reserves. He wants to promote using our coal supply. He recognizes these traditional sources of energy will power our economy and create jobs in states like Indiana.

For renewable energy, Romney offers a stronger path than the subsidies in our federal approach to energy. He wants to direct resources toward research and development and invites renewable energy to follow the path of shale gas.

Government funded some research, but the bulk of the investment came from private investors who pumped millions of dollars into developing technology to extract gas from shale. Today, those private investors are billionaires, natural gas is booming, and consumers are paying historically low rates for natural gas.

In short, Romney wants an “all of the above” energy policy that promotes using all energy resources found in states like Indiana.

President Obama calls for an “all of the above” energy strategy, but he applies a different definition.

A true “all of the above” energy strategy would not alienate coal, but Obama does. Under his administration, the Environmental Protection Agency is promulgating rules that will make it nearly impossible for utilities and industry to use Indiana coal.

A true “all of the above” energy strategy would not preclude oil, but Obama does. He has decided vehicles should be powered by electricity and biofuels rather than any of the 214 million barrels of oil in southwestern Indiana.

A true “all of the above” energy strategy would not prevent full use of our natural gas resources, but Obama does. His administration is interfering with Indiana’s ability to access international markets for the natural gas in the Illinois Basin.

This is not what a true “all of the above” energy policy looks like. A true “all of the above” energy policy would embrace all forms of energy without bias, prejudice or predetermined favorite.

This is the approach Indiana needs. Romney’s energy policy is right for Indiana.•

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Schmidt is an attorney and is director of energy development at Schmidt Associates in Indianapolis. Views expressed are that of the author and not Schmidt Associates. Send comments on this column to ibjedit@ibj.com.

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