"It's all about oil," griped one commentator about the new energy plan [PDF] that Mitt Romney put out on Thursday.
Was it a raging environmentalist registering this complaint? Some crazy solar advocate perhaps? No. As noted by Think Progress, it was T. Boone Pickens, legendary oil man.
Pickens' beef was on account of natural gas, his current passion, getting short shrift from the presumptive Republican nominee, and it's true, gas lost out to oil. But it did a whole lot better than renewable energy.
Grist's Lisa Hymas counted up the number of mentions each energy source got in the Romny doc. Oil led with 154. Natural gas was second at 36. Solar? Down the list with 14 mentions (not all of them complimentary). Wind, with 10 citations, barely beat out Keystone. You know, the oil pipeline.
Well, don't say we didn't warn you.
Way back in January, when it was obvious to some of us that none of the likes of Paul, Santorum or Gingrich would get the nomination, we took a long hard look at Romney's energy views as outlined in his policy statement, "Believe in America." Romney's allegiance to fossil fuels, and the black liquid stuff in particular, was pretty clear
What the new document does is repackage the Romney energy outlook more around the idea of that long-sought American ideal, energy independence. To make happen his goal of zero oil imported from outside North America by 2020, Romney proposes – as he has before – opening up the Atlantic Coast and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to development, and adds in a few new twists: giving states the ability to decide whether and how such projects could go ahead with resource exploitation on federal lands, and working cooperatively with Mexico and Canada.
"Three million jobs come back to this country, by taking advantage of something we have right underneath our feet," Romney said. "That's oil and gas and coal. We're going to make it happen; we're going to create those jobs."
Utterly ignored in the Romney plan is the concern, widely held in the scientific community, that burning fossil fuels poses a grave threat to Earth by releasing greenhouse gases that are causing warming and other climate changes. Maybe you've heard about this phenomenon; Romney apparently hasn't.
Of course, the Obama administration, heading into the election, isn't exactly shouting climate change warnings from rooftops. When the White House responded to Romney's "new" plan, and stood by clean energy investment, spokesman Jay Carney chose his words carefully.
"While the Republican approach denigrates forms of energy like wind, this president believes that investing in renewable energy is essential to enhancing our energy independence," Carney said.
The White House feels comfortable promoting clean energy during the campaign – disassociated from climate change – because polls consistently show it to be popular. In fact, on the same day Mitt Romney's oil-splotched energy policy white paper came out, the pro-renewables group Advanced Energy Economy released a survey that showed "90 percent of Republicans believe it is very important or somewhat important for America's future to be a leader in developing, manufacturing, and deploying advanced energy products like batteries for power storage, solar panels and turbine components."