Martin LaMonica

A View from Martin LaMonica

Paul Ryan's Energy Views Could be a Factor in the Presidential Race

The choice of Ryan, a harsh critic of Obama’s clean-energy agenda, as vice presidential candidate sharpens the differences between the two presidential candidates and parties.

  • August 13, 2012

Political pundits say that presidential hopeful Mitt Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan creates more clearly divided views between Republicans and Democrats on fiscal and economic issues. That’s true in energy as well.

How will wind and Obama’s clean-energy agenda figure into the election? Credit: General Electric.

Ryan (R-WI) has been a harsh critic of the Obama administration’s agenda to advance clean-energy technologies, including the loan guarantee program which provided money to failed solar company Solyndra, according to a report in Politico. In general, Ryan’s views hew closely to the GOP position of expanding oil drilling and pulling back renewable energy policies, according to the report.

On his Web site, Ryan advocates expanded oil and gas drilling in the United States and support for nuclear power. The House budget, which he authored, also reflects his positions to expand drilling and slash incentives for clean-energy technologies, according to TheHill.com.“This budget would roll back federal intervention and expensive corporate-welfare funding directed to the president’s allied industries,” the proposal says.

The budget blueprint also proposes scaling back EPA regulations, according to a profile in Politico. The League of Conservation Voters was quick to criticize Romney’s choice of Ryan, calling him “Big Oil’s Dream VP Pick.” 

Energy is already becoming a topic on the campaign trail.

At the end of this year, a production tax credit for wind power projects is poised to end, which industry advocates say will bring wind development to a halt. The Romney camp has said he supports letting that tax credit lapse, rather than extend it or gradually phase it out. The production tax credit was created during the George W. Bush administration and extended under Obama.

The Obama administration has seized on the wind issue in states, including Iowa and Colorado, where the wind industry employs significant numbers of people and has the support from some politicians in both parties. 

“At a moment when home-grown energy, renewable energy, is creating new jobs in Colorado and Iowa, my opponent wants to end tax credits for wind energy producers,” Obama said in Colorado last week

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