A common phrase within the Republican Party, and by the Romney campaign, is that “[States] know how best to police the activity.” Its repetition has become so common that this phrase has entered the GOP’s Hall of Mantra fame.
But the idea that states “know best” when it comes to energy policy disregards the common national interest that MUST be taken into account when high-impact decisions are being made, like drilling the Marcellus Shale, for example. The decision by one state to drill the Marcellus Shale for natural gas could have negative consequences for neighboring states, creating the potential for an inter-state conflict that the federal government may only be able to resolve.
In Virginia, the potential for mining and processing uranium ore in Pittsylvania County could have tremendous negative consequences for Virginians and North Carolinians alike. Gov. McDonnell and the state GOP believe they “know best,” but in their haste to exploit an abundant resource, how much do they really know? If peer-reviewed study after peer-reviewed scientific study confirms an unacceptable level of risk involved in the mining and processing of uranium, should the federal government cave in to the idea that states “know best” and allow the process to occur? Mitt Romney would most likely say “yes.”
According to Romney adviser Rebecca Rosen, the Romney plan would encourage states “to partner with industry rather than become an adversary.” In other words, the Romney plan would allow private industry to have their way by fusing individual states and private industry into a closely intertwined relationship.
The Romney plan would also push for the establishment of an interstate council that can “align with the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC) and the State Review of Oil and Natural Gas Environmental Regulations (STRONGER), both of which carry a dual mission of overseeing and promoting fossil fuel production.”
Mitt Romney has always been a man, whether in business or politics, of little vision. Romney’s forte has always been his ability to take productive enterprises, build them up, and then tear them down. Romney is not an innovator, a pragmatic dreamer, or a man of vision.
In the realm of energy and energy policy, America needs a strong vision of what future energy resources will look like. What a Romney energy plan would do is set America spiraling back into the past of energy resource use, a past that may not be reflected upon the present immediately, but one which will ultimately come back to haunt our country and its prosperity.