Energy Policy Platform: The Republicans
When the Republican National Committee finalized its 2016 Party Platform in July, they divided the document into six separate sections. One of those sections – perhaps indicative of just how important the policy issues in question are to the Party – is titled “America’s Natural Resources: Agriculture, Energy, and the Environment.”
The Natural Resources section beings by describing just how vital our natural resources (i.e., crops, minerals, fish, energy, etc.) are to our overall well-being as a nation. In a rather pointed claim, the Platform asserts that not long ago a bipartisan consensus existed that extractive industries should be valued and not overly burdened by regulations, suggesting that the Democratic Party no longer adequately supports those that work in energy and agriculture industries.
Along those lines, the Platform appears to be noticeably more partisan in nature and is rife with examples of the Democrats allegedly working against the interests of the natural resources and mining industries. This is probably to be expected as the Democrats have obviously controlled the levers of executive power for almost eight years now. Examples include:
- “The Democratic Party’s energy policy can be summed up in a slogan currently popular among its activists: ‘keep it in the ground.’”
- “The Democratic Party does not understand that coal is an abundant, clean, affordable, reliable domestic energy resource. Those who mine it should be protected from the Democratic Party’s radical anti-coal agenda.”
- “The environmental establishment has become a self-serving elite, stuck in the mindset of the 1970s, subordinating the public’s consensus to the goals of the Democratic Party.”
At its most fundamental level, the Platform expresses significant skepticism of federal power, and more specifically, federal executive power. Federal regulatory bodies are portrayed – in contrast to state regulatory agencies – as little more than outdated, overly bloated entities that do little more than stifle economic productivity and job growth. To illustrate this point, the Platform notes that it takes an average of 30 days for a state to permit an oil or gas well; on average, it takes the federal government more than seven months.
Several proposals to shift regulatory authority from the federal government to the states can be found in the document. For instance, the Republicans propose shifting most environmental protection to state regulators and transforming the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) into an independent bipartisan commission, with a framework similar to that of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Furthermore, any mineral extraction on federally controlled public lands would be managed by the state regulators within those particular borders.