On Monday night the first major GOP debate took place in Manchester, New Hampshire.
Seven major Republican presidential candidates took part in the debate, including Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, and Rick Santorum.
Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann proved their worth, Romney maintaining his position as frontrunner and Bachmann establishing her own name as a competitive candidate.
And it looks like – despite other potential candidates – these seven are the ones to keep an eye on.
So let’s take a look at what they’ll do about energy.
Like nearly all of the candidates, Romney is a huge proponent of U.S. energy independence.
To accomplish this, innovations in energy efficiency and conservation are necessary, and for this reason Romney wants to push to enhance alternative energy sources.
He will look to increase energy from nuclear sources, biodiesel, ethanol, and domestic oil from currently limited regions such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and the Outer Continental Shelf.
He is taking a stance against the Kyoto Protocol, as he believes it is taking jobs away from Americans.
Romney’s main stance is for investments in energy research and innovation, especially for clean technology and fuel efficiency.
Tim Pawlenty is also pushing for energy independence, and he has several plans up his sleeve to arrive at this solution.
First off, like Romney, he supports drilling in ANWR, as well as investments in research for energy.
He believes local renewables will be beneficial, especially since he supports 25% renewable energy in the U.S. by 2025.
He would put tax incentives in place for more efficient energy use.
He has also expressed disapproval for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), believing that their regulations are unnecessarily strict and that they hurt the economy.
The EPA regulations on greenhouse gas emissions, Pawlenty has said, put major restrictions on businesses and actually requires us to be dependent on outside fuel sources such as foreign oil.
Like Pawlenty, Bachmann would move to dismantle the EPA, as she expressed in the debate – according to her, its regulations are actually hurting job growth in the economy.
Bachmann strongly proposes eliminating foreign energy dependence and decreasing gas prices in the U.S.
She is supportive of cutting federal regulations on drilling, expanding oil drilling to Alaska and the Outer Continental Shelf.
She would like to create more jobs by increasing oil refineries in the country.
She is also a strong proponent of renewable energy, as a member of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus, and she supports other alternative energy forms as well.
Gingrich is of the opinion the Kyoto Treaty actually isn’t doing anything for the environment but rather is causing national problems.
Instead, he would put in place incentives for renewable resources, and he would replace the EPA with an Environmental Solutions Agency, which he says would work hand-in-hand with the government and industry in order to find environmental solutions that are beneficial on all ends and that will not harm the government and economy.
He would move to eliminate the gas tax that is currently in place.
Gingrich is also supportive of removing government restrictions on drilling, moving to drill in Alaska and also to remove the ban on shale projects, emphasizing the abundance of shale could do wonders for our country’s energy supply.
Herman Cain believes in reducing governmental control of energy altogether.
The regulations that exist, he believes, in an attempt to cut down on emissions, increase our dependence on foreign oil, which in the long run creates a vicious circle by producing more emissions.
Cain’s solution would be to let the markets decide what is best – it may be alternative energy, or it may not.
Alternative energy is a good thing, but we must move in that direction at the pace the market demands – once safe, inexpensive solutions are found, then we can increase alternative solutions.
Ron Paul’s views reiterate those of Cain – remove the government from the energy business.
If this is done, we could drill in ANWR and move faster toward independence from foreign oil companies.
Ron Paul would move to build more oil refineries and to repeal the gas tax.
Family man Rick Santorum’s views on the energy situation can be determined from his voting patterns, which have been very consistent.
Like many of the other candidates, Santorum supports drilling in ANWR, and also increased drilling in the Gulf and Alaska.
He is supportive of alternative energy sources, but isn’t quite as positive about renewables.
He has, in the past, opposed legislation regarding renewable energy and clean air regulations.
The Future of American Energy
It seems each of the candidates desires energy independence to boost the economy, though they all have slightly different views of how to do so.
Drilling in ANWR seems to be a common denominator across the board, and even those who have not explicitly supported it have not said anything strongly against it.
Renewable energy seems to be in the future for most of the candidates, Santorum being the exception.
A turn toward alternative energy, however, is another main solution.
As the campaigning pushes forward, we’ll keep our ears perked for more energy plans.
That’s all for now,