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Mitt Romney misleads on energy

 

Mitt Romney will say anything to get elected. On Fox News Sunday, he falsely attacked President Obama’s record on energy and ignored his own record. The fact is that President Obama has been pursuing an all-of-the-above energy strategy. As a result, domestic oil and gas production has increased every year under President Obama and our dependence on foreign oil is at a 16-year low. Meanwhile, as governor of Massachusetts, Romney raised a tax on gas by 400 percent, and one of his campaign advisers has been pushing for an increase in the gas tax.

And now, Romney has rolled out a tax plan that continues to charge taxpayers $4 billion a year to subsidize oil and gas companies making record profits and he opposed raising fuel economy standards which will save consumers an average of $8,000 per vehicle. It is clear voters cannot trust Romney on energy.

ROMNEY RAISED A TAX ON GAS BY 400%, WHICH AFFECTED “EVERY MOTORIST IN THE STATE”

Romney’s 400% Tax Increase On Gas “Was Clearly Excessive.”“Romney has asserted that the fee increases totaled only $260 million in fiscal 2004 but that ignores at least $71 million in new fees implemented shortly after he took office. One major fee hike was clearly excessive - a 2-cent-per-gallon increase in a special gasoline fee, implemented during the fiscal crisis without fanfare, even though it affects every motorist in the state. The increase generates about $60 million per year for a program to clean up contamination around underground fuel storage tanks, but since its inception has produced surpluses of more than $40 million a year above the actual cost of the program, according to a report done by the Department of Revenue in response to a Globe request. Raised from half a cent to 2.5 cents per gallon in April 2003, ostensibly to pay for a backlog of cleanup claims, the fee is on top of the 21-cent-per-gallon state tax on gasoline.” [Boston Globe, 6/29/07]

·       Boston Herald Editorial: Romney-Healey’s 2.5 Cent Surcharge On Every Gallon Of Gas Was “A Tax, Not A Fee.” “The first is the elimination of the underground storage tank cleanup fund which turns the state’s 2-and-a-half-cent surcharge on every gallon of gas into a tax, not a fee. We’d be certain the [Romney administration] was going to veto this one . . . if [they] didn’t propose it [themselves] The tax is a pass-through from gas wholesalers to retailers to, guess who, drivers, raised with the administration’s blessing on April 1... once the fund to clean up underground storage tanks is eliminated, the money - some $ 60 million per year - will go into an unrestricted account, where it can be spent on just about anything. And that’s what makes it a tax.” [Editorial, Boston Herald, 6/28/03]

·       In 2003, Romney Hiked A Gas Tax On Motorists By Two Cents Per Gallon. "Gov. Romney’s administration is whacking motorists with the equivalent of a 2-cent-a-gallon gas tax hike, thanks to a little-known fund that pays for cleaning spills and underground leaks at local filling stations. Gas wholesalers pay a fee into the fund for every 10,000 gallons they deliver to retail filling stations in Massachusetts. As of April 1, on the Romney crew’s say-so, the fee went from $50 for every 10,000 gallons to . . . $250. That stunning fivefold increase looks particularly onerous when you break it down to the per-gallon cost: from a half-cent per gallon to 2 1-2 cents in one fell swoop." [Cosmo Macero Jr., Boston Herald Op-Ed, 4/11/03]

·       Romney Tagged For “Nice Little Backdoor Tax Increase” On Gas.[Cosmo Macero Jr., Boston Herald op-ed, 4/11/03]

ROMNEY ADVISER GREG MANKIW HAS ADVOCATED FOR INCREASING THE GAS TAX

Mankiw Suggested Raising A Tax On Gasoline By Over $2 A Gallon Makes Sense.  Romney advisor Gregory Mankiw wrote in a New York Times op-ed: “Consider the tax on gasoline. Driving your car is associated with various adverse side effects, which economists call externalities. These include traffic congestion, accidents, local pollution and global climate change. If the tax on gasoline were higher, people would alter their behavior to drive less. They would be more likely to take public transportation, use car pools or live closer to work. The incentives they face when deciding how much to drive would more closely match the true social costs and benefits. Economists who have added up all the externalities associated with driving conclude that a tax exceeding $2 a gallon makes sense. That would provide substantial revenue that could be used to reduce other taxes. By taxing bad things more, we could tax good things less.” [N. Gregory Mankiw Op-Ed, New York Times, 1/21/12]

Mankiw Supported Increasing The Gas Tax To Save The Environment And Reduce Traffic Congestion. “I would institute an immediate and permanent reduction in the payroll tax, financed by a gradual, permanent, and substantial increase in the gasoline tax. I would make the two tax changes equal in present value, so while the package results in a short-run budget deficit, there is no long-term budget impact. Call it the create-jobs, save-the-environment, reduce-traffic-congestion, budget-neutral tax shift.” [Greg Mankiw Blog, 2/5/09]

Romney Senior Advisor Greg Mankiw: "I Would Like To See Congress Increase The Gas Tax By $1 Per Gallon, Phased In Gradually By 10 Cents Per Year Over The Next Decade." [N. Gregory Mankiw, Op-Ed, "Raise The Gas Tax," Wall Street Journal, 10/20/06]

ROMNEY HAS CRITICIZED FUEL EFFICIENCY STANDARDS, AND OPPOSED INCREASING CAFE STANDARDS

Romney: “The Government Put In Place CAFE Requirements That Were Disadvantageous For Domestic Manufacturers. We Need To Get The Government Out Of These Companies Hair.”  Romney: “The government put in place CAFE requirements that were disadvantageous for domestic manufacturers. We need to get the government out of these companies hair and let them go to work to become competitive, not only in the U.S. but globally. The world is changing in the auto industry and we’ve got to get these companies on a global footing as opposed to kowtowing to Washington.” [Frank Beckmann Radio Show, 2/23/11]

Romney: In The Past, “Government CAFE Standards Hurt Domestic Automakers.” Romney said in a speech, “Let’s learn from the lessons of the past. In my view, the industry got in trouble because the UAW asked for too much, management gave too much, and the government CAFE standards hurt domestic automakers. The result was a cost-penalty per vehicle of about $2,000. Even the best designers and engineers could not overcome that kind of cost disadvantage.” [Romney Remarks – Detroit, MI, 2/24/12]

ROMNEY SUPPORTS THE REPUBLICAN BUDGET THAT WOULD PROTECT WASTEFUL SUBSIDIES TO OIL AND GAS COMPANIES, CUT FUNDING TO ADVANCED ENERGY RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT AND CUT CLEAN ENERGY TAX BREAKS

Romney Said “Yes” He Would Sign The Republican Budget. “On health care, Romney responded ‘yes’ when asked if he would sign the plan written by Rep. Paul Ryan that would restructure Medicare if it reached his desk as President, but quickly added that he would be offering his own plan.” [ABC News, 6/2/11

·       GOP Budget Preserves $40 Billion In Tax Giveaways To Big Oil Companies. “It retains $40 billion in Big Oil tax loopholes while completely eliminating investments in the clean energy technologies of the future that are essential for long-term economic growth.” [Center for American Progress, 4/6/11]

·       The Republican Budget “Calls For Drastic Cuts In Federal Spending On Energy Research And Development And For The Outright Elimination Of Subsidies And Tax Breaks For Wind, Solar Power And Other Alternative Energy Technologies.” “A long-term Republican budget plan released this week by Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin calls for drastic cuts in federal spending on energy research and development and for the outright elimination of subsidies and tax breaks for wind, solar power and other alternative energy technologies. The plan ‘rolls back expensive handouts for uncompetitive sources of energy, calling instead for a free and open marketplace for energy development, innovation and exploration,’ Mr. Ryan, chairman of the House budget committee, wrote on Monday in The Wall Street Journal. The details were released on Tuesday.” [New York Times, 4/6/11]

·       The Republican Budget Would Cut Clean Energy Investments By 70 Percent And Infrastructure By One Third. The Paul Ryan budget would end Medicare as we know it and double out of pocket costs to future beneficiaries, increase the number of uninsured by 50 million, cut clean energy investments by 70 percent and cut infrastructure by one-third. [White House Blog, 7/19/11]

PRESIDENT OBAMA IS PURSUING AN ALL-OF-THE-ABOVE ENERGY STRATEGY THAT ENCOURAGES THE DOMESTIC PRODUCTION OF OIL AND NATURAL GAS WHILE INVESTING IN THE CLEAN ENERGY TECHNOLOGIES THAT WILL HELP TO REDUCE OUR DEPENDENCE ON OIL IN THE LONG RUN

President Obama Stated That He Has Directed His Administration To “Look For Every Single Area” Where It Can Help Consumers With High Gas Prices.“First of all, while there are no silver bullets short term when it comes to gas prices -- and anybody who says otherwise isn't telling the truth -- I have directed my administration to look for every single area where we can make an impact and help consumers in the months ahead, from permitting to delivery bottlenecks to what’s going on in the oil markets.  We're going to look at every single aspect of gas prices, because we know the burden that it's putting on consumers.  And we will keep taking as many steps as we can in the coming weeks.” [Remarks by the President on Energy, 2/23/12]

In His State Of The Union Address, President Obama Emphasized The Need For An “All-Out, All-Of-The-Above Strategy That Develops Every Available Source Of American Energy.” “Right now, American oil production is the highest that it’s been in eight years.  That’s right – eight years.  Not only that – last year, we relied less on foreign oil than in any of the past sixteen years.  But with only 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves, oil isn’t enough.  This country needs an all-out, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy – a strategy that’s cleaner, cheaper, and full of new jobs.“ [Remarks by the President in State of the Union Address, 1/24/12]

DOMESTIC OIL AND GAS PRODUCTION HAS INCREASED EVERY YEAR UNDER PRESIDENT OBAMA

Domestic Crude Oil Production Is At Its Highest Level In Eight Years. “Domestic oil output is the highest in eight years. … Domestic crude oil production rose 3.6 percent last year to an average 5.7 million barrels a day, the highest since 2003, according to the Energy Department.” [Bloomberg, 2/7/12]

Ø  Domestic Crude Oil Production Has Increased Every Year Since President Obama Took Office. In 2008, the United States was producing 4.95 million barrels of oil per day. In 2009, the United States produced 5.361 million barrels of oil per day, in 2010 the U.S. produced 5.474 million barrels of oil per day, and in 2011 the U.S. is estimated to have produced 5.671 million barrels of oil per day. [Energy Information Administration, Monthly Energy Review, February 2012]

Domestic Production Of Natural Gas Is At An All-Time High. [Energy Information Administration, 2/29/12]

Ø  Domestic Marketed Production Of Natural Gas Has Increased Every Year Since President Obama Took Office. In 2008, marketed production of natural gas was 21,112,053 million cubic feet, in 2009 marketed production of natural gas was 21,647,936 million cubic feet, in 2010 marketed production was 22,402,141 million cubic feet. In 2011 marketed production of natural gas was 24,170,868 million cubic feet. [Energy Information Administration, 2/29/12]

The Number Of Oil And Gas Rigs In Operation In The United States Has Increased Nearly 29 Percent Since President Obama Took Office. In January 2009 there were 1,553 rigs in operation in the United States. In January 2012 there were 2,003 rigs in operation. [Calculated from Energy Information Administration data, accessed 3/10/12]

·       Since President Obama Took Office, The Number Of Rigs Drilling For Oil In The United States Has More Than Quadrupled. In January 2009 there were 328 rigs drilling for oil in the United States. As of March 16, 2012 there were 1,317 rigs drilling for oil in the United States. [Calculated from Energy Information Administration and Baker Hughes rig count data, 3/2/12; Associated Press, 3/16/12]

THE UNITED STATES’ DEPENDENCE ON FOREIGN OIL IS AT A 16-YEAR LOW

In 2011, The United States Relied Less On Foreign Oil Than In It Has In Any Of The Past 16 Years. In 2011, the share of U.S. consumption met by net imports was 45.1 percent, the lowest it’s been since 1995. [Energy Information Administration, February 2012]

THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION HAS ISSUED HUNDREDS OF PERMITS FOR NEW DRILLING IN THE GULF OF MEXICO AND IS WORKING TO STREAMLINE THE PERMITTING PROCESS

The Bureau Of Safety And Environmental Enforcement Has Issued 117 Permits For New Shallow Water Wells And 69 Permits For New Deepwater Wells Since The Gulf Oil Spill. [BSEE.gov, accessed 3/16/12]

·        BSEE Has Approved 332 Permits For Deepwater Drilling Operations On 98 Unique Wells That Require Subsea Containment Capabilities. [BSEE, accessed 3/16/12]

Between February 28, 2011 And February 28, 2012, The Obama Administration Had Approved 61 Permits For Deepwater Drilling, Only 6 Fewer Than The Number Issued In The Same Time Period In 2009 And 2010. “In the aftermath of the oil spill, an agency of the US Department of the Interior approved a permit on Feb. 28, 2011, to drill a well in more than 500 ft of water (OGJ Online, Feb. 28, 2011). From Feb. 28, 2011, to Feb. 28, 2012, federal agencies issued 61 deepwater drilling permits in more than 500 ft of water. The permits were issued by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement and its successor, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. The 61 permits compares with 67 deepwater permits issued for the same period during 2009-10.” [Oil and Gas Journal, 3/1/12]

In The Past Year, Permit Review Times Have “Decreased Significantly” Because Of Steps The Obama Administration Has Taken To Familiarize Operators With And Increase Transparency In The Permit Process. “We have begun to balance workloads for our engineers by taking some permit applications and moving them around to different districts.  We have also allowed authorized users of our online permit application system to track the status of their applications.  This answered the call from many operators for greater transparency in our permitting process.  As a result of these steps, and the industry’s increasing familiarity with the process, permit review times have decreased significantly in the past year.  Rigs that had left the Gulf of Mexico are returning, new rigs are being contracted, and we are starting to see a small inventory of unused drilling permits develop.” [Statement of James Watson, Director of BSEE, House Natural Resources Committee, 3/8/12]

THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION IS FACILITATING THE DEVELOPMENT OF OIL AND GAS RESOURCES IN BOTH ONSHORE AND OFFSHORE AREAS IN ALASKA

The Obama Administration Will Hold Lease Sales For Oil And Gas Exploration In Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve (NPR-A) Every Year. “Mike Pool, deputy director of the Bureau of Land Management, also announced the agency will hold lease sales in the National Petroleum Reserve, known as NPR-A, in December 2011 and each year after, making good on the administration's mid-May promise to expedite development in the 23-million-acre reserve.“ [New York Times6/16/11]

Ø  In 2011, The Obama Administration Offered More Than 280 Tracts Of Land In Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve Covering More Than 3 Million Acres. “The Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced that today’s oil and gas lease sale in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPR-A) generated winning bids totaling $3,637,477 and covering 17 tracts on about 141,739 acres. … The BLM offered 283 tracts comprising approximately 3,060,176 acres in this sale. The tracts covered land available for oil and gas leasing within Northeast and Northwest NPR-A planning areas and included 178 tracts (1,817,186 acres) within Northeast NPR-A and 105 tracts (1,242,990 acres) in Northwest NPR-A.” [Department of Interior, 12/7/11]

The Bureau Of Ocean Energy Management Granted Conditional Approval To Shell To Drill For Oil In Alaska’s Chukchi Sea. “The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) today issued conditional approval of Shell Gulf of Mexico, Inc.’s revised Exploration Plan under leases in the Chukchi Sea Planning Area. In its Exploration Plan, Shell proposes drilling up to six exploration wells in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea beginning in the 2012 drilling season.” [Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, 12/16/11]

Ø  In February 2012, The Department Of Interior’s Bureau Of Safety And Environmental Enforcement Issued Its Approval Of Shell’s Oil Spill Response Plan For Drilling In The Chukchi Sea. “On Friday, February 17, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) issued an approval of Shell Gulf of Mexico, Inc.’s Oil Spill Response Plan (OSRP) for the Chukchi Sea. This decision follows the bureau’s thorough review of the plan and consultations with federal and state partner agencies involved in Arctic oil spill response. Shell has proposed drilling up to six wells in the Chukchi Sea during the next two summer open water seasons within the Burger Prospect, located about 70 miles off the coast in approximately 140 feet of water.” [Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, FACT SHEET: Shell Chukchi Sea Oil Spill Response Plan, 2/17/12]