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Romney energy plan: More drilling, fewer rules. What could go wrong?

August 23, 2012|By David Lazarus
  • GOP candidate Mitt Romney says we can achieve energy independence by 2020 if we drill more and eliminate regulations. Above, the Deepwater Horizon oil platform burns in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.
GOP candidate Mitt Romney says we can achieve energy independence by 2020… (EPA )

Imagine a world where the U.S. can produce most of its own energy and no longer rely on the Middle East and elsewhere for oil. You may say Mitt Romney is a dreamer, but he hopes he's not the only one.

The Republican presidential candidate has unveiled a plan that he says will bring about energy independence by 2020. You heard that right: total energy independence in just a few short years.

How do we accomplish this? Easy. We drill everywhere we can and we erase a lot of regulations that create pesky obstacles such as protecting the environment and people's health.

"I have a vision for an America that is an energy superpower, rapidly increasing our own production and partnering with our allies Canada and Mexico to achieve energy independence on this continent," Romney says.

And that's not all. Following his plan, Romney says, would create 3 million new jobs, $1 trillion in government revenue, a stronger dollar and lower energy prices.

You gotta wonder why President Obama hasn't figured all this out for himself.

Wait, what's this? It's a report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which says that 70% of the nation's oil and gas reserves are already available for drilling.

Opening the rest for drilling, it says, would increase government receipts from an estimated $150 billion under current policy to $175 billion to $200 billion over the next 10 years.

Gosh, kind of makes you wonder where those millions of jobs and additional $800 billion in cash will come from.

And then there's the small matter of regulatory oversight. Perhaps Romney missed the news that just a couple of years ago, the largest oil spill in history occurred in the Gulf of Mexcico after BP's Deepwater Horizon platform sprung a leak, flooding the water with about 5 million barrels of oil.

The spill caused extensive damage to marine and wildlife habitats, and to the gulf's fishing and tourism industries.

But, hey, you've got to break a few eggs if you want an omelet.

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