Transcript: Mitt Romney presents energy plan in New Mexico
Edited by Jenny Jiang
Transcript: Mitt Romney presents energy plan at the Watson Truck & Supply Co. in Hobbs, New Mexico on Aug. 23, 2012:
“…The President’s policies have not worked. Almost everything he’s done has made it harder for this economy to recover and, as a result of that, middle-income families across America are having hard times.
“Just another report came out yesterday showing that middle-income families are having a harder time maintaining their standard of living. This is inexplicable in a nation that’s so prosperous as our own to see a nation with so many middle-income families having such tough times. The median income of an American family has dropped over the last 3 and a half years by $4,000 even as gasoline prices have doubled, electricity rates have gone up, and food prices have gone up. And people are being squeezed and living paycheck to paycheck.
“I know this is the best the Obama team can do but we can do better and we will.
“Now, I’ve gone across the country over the last several months describing a 5-point plan that’s going to get this country going again and create good jobs and rising incomes. And those 5 points I’m going to mention to you briefly but one of them I’m going to talk about in some depth today.
“Number one, of course, is taking advantage of our energy resources – our oil, our coal, our gas, nuclear, renewables, wind, solar. That’s number one.
“Number two, we have to make sure that our schools are world class. This nation invented education. We’ve got to fix our schools and make them the best in the world.
“Number three, we’ve got to have more trade. We need to open up trade with Latin America and other parts of the world and crack down on cheaters like China when they cheat and steal jobs with unfair trading practices.
“Number four, we won’t get businesses and individuals to risk starting enterprises here and hiring people if they think America is going to become Greece. So we’re going to have to get serious about cutting the federal spending, encouraging growth, and finally balance our budget in this country.
“And number five, we’ve got to champion small business. We’ve got to help small business, keep their taxes competitive, get regulators to see their jobs as to encourage business not crush it, and take off that big cloud that’s scaring away hiring from small business – and I’m talking about Obamacare and we need to repeal it and replace it with something that helps bring down the cost of health care.
“Now, I want to go a little deeper for a moment as I talk about that number one objective, which is energy.
“If I’m the President of the United States in a few months here, I will set a national goal of America and North America energy independence by 2020. North American energy independence by 2020. That means we produce all the energy we use in North America.
“And there are a number of things I’m going to do to make that happen. It is achievable. This is not some pie-in-the-sky kind of thing. This is a real, achievable objective.
“And I have a chart that still – despite the wind – still holding up up here. These guys have held it up with about every piece of weight you can think of. But on the left hand side, you see a bar there that represents – you can’t read the writing; it’s too far back. But I can read it even from here so I’m going to tell you what it says.
“That bar shows how much our total demand is in the United States right now. And right now, we’re making about 15 million barrels per day. We’re producing in North America about 15 million barrels a day. The rest we import. So we’re producing about two-thirds of what we use, we’re importing about one-third.
“And what you’re seeing as you go across the line there are various sources of additional energy for this North American continent.
“First, I have down there a bar representing conventional sources and actually there’s a little gray slice there. That suggests that conventional sources – meaning the wells we already have, the fields that we already have, the technologies we already have – are probably going to see a reduction in production over the next 10 years. And so we’re going to have to make up for that reduction and add to it.
“How are we going to do that? Well, that’s the next bar. Offshore drilling. We’re going to add about 2 million barrels per day in offshore drilling.
“Tight oil. That’s oil that come from places where you have to use fracking technology to help get it out, whether that’s the Bakken Range in North Dakota or whether it’s right here in New Mexico. Tight oil is a big source of additional supply. That’s about another 2 million barrels per day.
“Alaska. This is ANWR, another source in Alaska. That will add additional oil production in this country.
“Natural gas liquids. You know that natural gas is just booming as a source of energy. As you produce natural gas, you get some liquids. Those liquids can be refined and used to create gasoline for automotive purposes as well. That’s about another 2 million barrels per day.
“Then we come to biofuels. Biofuels, whether ethanol or biodiesel, will produce about 1 million barrels per day of additional capacity.
“Then we come to Canada. Canada has oil sands. We’re going to take advantage of those and build that Keystone Pipeline and work with Canada to make sure we have advantage of their energy sources.
“And the last little bar that I have there is Mexico. And Mexico – I’m not counting on any increase there. They’ve actually been declining slightly but I think by virtue of a new President there and conviction on the part of both parties in the most recent elections there to encourage closer relations with us, we’re going to find ourselves being able to work with Mexico to share our technology and know-how to help them become more productive and add to the energy produced in North America.
“And the net of all this is, as you can see, by 2020, we’re able to produce somewhere between 23 to 28 million barrels per day of oil, and we won’t need to buy any oil from the Middle East or Venezuela or anywhere else where we don’t want to.
“Now, you might wonder how in the world am I going to do all of those things because those opportunities have existed for a long time – we just haven’t taken advantage of them. And so there’s some things I’m going to do differently that makes it possible for us to be able to achieve those improvements in production from all those sources I’ve described.
“Number one, on federal lands, the permitting process to actually drill and get oil or gas is extraordinarily slow.
“Now, interestingly on state lands and private lands, state regulators have streamlined their permitting process, their evaluation, environmental process, safety processes. They found a way because we compete – states do – with one another. They found a way to do a job in a more efficient way.
“So for instance, in North Dakota, it takes 10 days to get a permit for a new well. In Colorado, it takes 27 days. That’s to get on state land a permit or private land. But you know how long it takes the federal government regulators to get your permit on federal land? On average, 307 days.
“So here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to have the states take responsibility for the permitting process on federal lands. Now, of course, the process is going to have to be reviewed and approved by the federal government. It’s going to be overseen and monitored. But we’re going to have state regulators – not just regulate oil production, gas production on state lands and private lands but also on federal lands, and that will improve the creation of new oil wells, new gas wells, and get more production to the people that need it.
“Now, I also want to note another way we’re going to get more production and that’s with regards to our offshore sources. Right now, the federal government has been holding off on offshore development. And what we’re going to have to do is speed that up and make it possible.
“So I’m going to put together a five-year leasing plan to lease offshore sources, and we’re going to make as part of that the Carolinas, Virginia, and the Gulf. We’re going to have targets.
“We’re going to have the companies that do the drillings responsible for hitting those targets. And if not, we’re going to have corrective measures.
“But we’re finally going to also make sure that we implement state-of-the-art safety procedures for offshore drilling and assure that as we put in place these regulations and procedures that they’re designed for safety, they’re not designed to stop drilling for energy resources. Using the law to stop production of energy is not in the best interest of the United States of America and our people.
“Number three, I’m going to establish an energy partnership with Canada and Mexico. We need to work together with these guys, work collaboratively. And we need a fast-track process to make sure that infrastructure projects are approved. And particularly, we’re going to get that Keystone Pipeline built as one of those first infrastructure projects that take advantage of their resources.
“Number four, it’s about time we get an accurate inventory about how much energy we have. The President keeps on talking about the idea that we only have 2% of the world’s oil reserves. That’s a dramatic understatement of the energy resources of this country. It’s probably at least 7 times that amount of even more. So I’m going to authorize a new seismic study of our onshore and offshore resources to find out what we have and where we have it. I’m also going to require those that have these kind of seismic surveys in private hands collect them so that we can look at them, share them with one another. We’re going to take advantage of an understanding of where our resources are so we can plan accordingly.
“I’m also going to do something which has been around for a long time, and that is I’m going to change the regulatory and permitting process to make it more transparent and to make sure that as we put in place regulations, they’re designed to actually help get production where it’s needed and not using regulation to stop the production of energy. Sometimes I have the impression that the whole regulatory attitude of the administration is trying to stop oil and gas and coal, that they don’t want those sources, that instead they want to get those things so expensive and so rare that wind and solar become highly cost effective and efficient.
“Look, I like wind and solar like the next person. But I don’t want the law to be used to stop the production of oil and gas and coal, and I’m going to get the law to be finally transparent with timelines, statute of limitations, and stop using these legal suits to try and stop the production of energy in this country.
“Number six, I want to promote energy innovation. Now, what do I mean by that? We’ve watched the President follow a different path. He’s taken federal dollars – your money – to invest in companies – solar companies, wind companies. About $90 billion in so-called green jobs. $90 billion is going to this.
“Look, the government of the United States is not a very good venture capitalist. He says he’s picking winners and losers – mostly, he’s been picking losers, all right? I mean, you know, Solyndra, Fisker, and Tesla. There’s a long list of these businesses he’s investing in.
“I don’t want the government investing in companies, particularly companies of his campaign contributors. I want instead to have our government investing in basic science and research, finding new sources of energy, also finding ways to be more efficient in our use of energy.
“I happen to believe that that line – that dotted I have up there – which says that American energy usage – North American energy usage – will stay about the same. I’d say we can bring that down. I believe that through technology and innovation, we’re going to find ways to bring down our energy and we’ll be even – we may even be an exporter at some point of energy when you consider all of our resources.
“But this – this is where we should be devoting our federal dollars not on trying to put money into businesses, which often fail, but instead putting money into technology and science and research. We do that and you’re going to see new opportunities for us to get America and North America energy independent.
“Now, what are the benefits of all this? If we actually get there? And I’m planning on getting there. I get elected, we’re going to get there.
“Let me tell you what the benefits are. Three million jobs. Three million jobs come from doing this. Three million jobs.
“That’s a million in manufacturing. That’s a lot of energy-related jobs. Three million jobs come back to this country by taking advantages of something we have right underneath our feet – that’s oil and gas and coal. We’re going to make it happen. We’re going to create those jobs.
“Let me tell you what else it does. It adds $500 billion to the size of our economy. That’s more good wages. That’s an opportunity for more Americans to have a brighter, prosperous future. It also means, by the way, tens of billions – potentially hundreds of billions – of dollars of tax revenues going into states and the federal government, which can make sure we have a military second to none and schools that lead in the world and care for our seniors, better roads and bridges.
“Accomplishing what I’ve described right there also means lower energy prices for American families and by the way for American businesses. So that as businesses are thinking about where to build a factory and they look at the cost of production, let’s say, of a particular product and they look at the energy cost, they see that here in North America we have ample energy and it’s low-cost, and that will bring businesses back here. So you’re going to see more manufacturing come back to the United States as a result of doing what is so clearly in our best interest.
“By the way, we all hear about something known as the trade deficit – that’s how much more we buy from other people than they buy from us. Doing what I described right there will reduce that trade deficit alone by 80%. Think of the impact that will have on the strength of our dollar.
“And let me mention something else and that is we have to have a national security strategy which takes into account the fact that America will be stronger if we have all the energy that we need to power our economy and power our military. This is not just a matter of economy, of jobs, of rising incomes, and a growing economy and more tax revenues – it’s also more security. It means we don’t have to rely on people who in some cases don’t like us very much, that America will be able to stand on its own, will stand arm-in-arm with our friends in Mexico and our friends in Canada and assure that we have all the energy we need to keep America powered and to make sure that our military never has to borrow from someone across the ocean that might not be our best friend.
“Now I happen to believe if you do what I’ve described – and I’m planning on doing it when I get elected – if we do that and those other four things that I described, which are fixing our schools and our training programs for people who need good work and making sure that we improve trade to make trade work for America and also finally tackling our deficit and reign in the excessive spending and then champion small business. You do those things and this economy is going to come roaring back.
“The other day the Vice President was talking about how things are getting so much better for the middle-class Americans. I wish he’d go out and talk to some people and meet people across this land. It’s not getting better for the 23 million people who are out of work or stopped looking for work. It’s not getting better for those people who’s seen their income go down and their costs go up. It’s not getting better for people who are coming out of college and can’t find work.
“But what I’ve described here will make things better for the middle-class Americans. People all over this country will be convinced again that it’s great to be middle-class in America. Moms and dads will know their kids coming out of school are going to be able to get a good job.
“This is critical for our generation, for the coming generation, and for the world. I say for the world because people around the world look to America. They need a strong America. They know that a strong America is essential to peace on the planet, that a strong America keeps the world’s worst actors from doing the world’s worst things.
“I had the privilege just to – well, a few weeks ago – of meeting Lech Walesa. I came into his office and he said through an interpreter, he said, ‘Mitt, you’re probably tired. You sit down. I’ll talk. You listen.’ And so I did, and he began to speak for about 15 minutes uninterrupted. And his message was pretty straightforward. He repeated it again and again. ‘Where’s American leadership? We need America’s leadership. America’s the only super power on the planet. We need America to be strong.’
“Getting a North American energy independence is key to American leadership. So is fixing our schools and balancing our budget, making trade work for us and understanding the power – the power of small business, individual initiative, hard work. This is what America is all about.
“I’ve been inspired as I’ve gone across the campaign trail over the last months as I’ve seen Americans who’ve taken the initiative to try and build enterprises for themselves and improve the lives of their families. I’m inspired by the power of individuals – of a person in a family, for instance, changing the lives of the other people in the family.
“My sister did that. My sister has eight kids – Lynn [SP?] does. Eight children. She’s so enthusiastic and positive and energetic. She’s just raised terrific kids. Seven of them are married. Her eighth is a Down Syndrome boy. He’s now 43. She’s 75. Her husband passed away a few years ago so Jeffrey [SP?] lives at home with her. She devotes her life to caring for him and caring for her kids and caring for her grandchildren.
“The impact of one person of a strong personality, of love and affection and caring – enormous in a family, enormous also in an economy.
“I’ve gone across the country and met entrepreneurs of all kinds and am impressed by their capacity to lift others through their ideas.
“I met a woman who had her own business. I said to her, ‘How did you get your company started?’ She said, ‘Well, my husband lost his job and he took a class in upholstering.’ And she – because she was the better business mind in the family – decided to start a company of her own and she hired him as her first employee. And she went on to hire 40 more people as upholsterers, and now she has a successful upholstery company.
“I met another woman in High Point, North Carolina, just a few days ago – Melanie McNamara. She’s in the furniture business. Hard to compete with China in the furniture business and other foreign sources, but she found a way to do it to save her business and the jobs of the people who work for her. She decided she’d focus her furniture in one small segment. She makes furniture for waiting rooms in hospitals, and she does it well. And by virtue of that insight – making a superb product and a quality at a good price – she has been able to maintain her business and the jobs of some 27 people who work with her.
“I met another guy who by virtue of his insight and imagination and hard work and smarts was able to change the lives of a lot of other people. His name is Jim Liautaud. Jim’s from southern Illinois. Graduated second in his high school class – second from the bottom. And he decided college was not in his future. He talked to his dad about a loan. His dad agreed to loan him the money to get a business started. They’d split it about 50-50. He was going to be in the food business. Jim went on to buy a hamburger griddle and a hot dog roller – you know, they put those hot dog on – and one of those hoods that takes out the smoke. By the time he costed it all out, he found out that it was more expensive than he had money for. About the only thing he could do for the money he borrowed from his dad was make sandwiches. So he set up tables – alright. Set up tables in the garage and started making sandwiches and then delivered them to people at business. Now, Jim Liataud’s business is known as Jimmy John’s. He has 1,500 Jimmy John’s restaurants. He employs 60,000 people. One person making a difference.
“It’s an amazing thing, America, where individual initiative, individual know-how, hard work, people pursuing their own course, their own dreams, have built America. Freedom has built America. When the founders crafted the founding documents of America, they said our rights came from God. They didn’t say they came from government. They came from God, and among them were life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That’s what makes us a unique and exceptional nation we are. Individuals – moms, dads, kids in school, entrepreneurs, even political leaders who have initiative, insight, passion, are willing to take risks and make a difference. It’s what makes America what we are.
“I think the President thinks it’s somehow the government that makes us what we are. That’s not the answer. The answer for America is to rely on individuals and their dreams and their passions. I’m going to keep America strong by returning America to the freedoms that we’ve all known, bringing to us, bringing to each individual the capacity to achieve, to pursue their dreams.
“I love America. I love the principles upon which America was founded. I know if we do the things I’ve described – those five things – America’s going to come roaring back. Our families need it. Our kids need it. The world needs it. We’re going to keep America the shining city on the hill. Together, we’re going to get New Mexico to help me become the next President and we’re going to get America on track to keep it great for the entire century. Thank you so much! Great to be with you.”
- C-Span.org: Video of Mitt Romney’s speech in Hobbs, New Mexico on Aug. 23, 2012
- WhatTheFolly.com: Romney unveils plan to achieve U.S. energy independence by 2020
- MittRomney.com: [Infographic] Energy Independence: No Longer a Pipe Dream
- MittRomney.com: Using Our Energy Resources Will Create Jobs And Prosperity