Jeb Bush, Republican presidential candidate and former Governor of Florida, has officially laid out his energy policy platform for 2016. Days after Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton has come out in opposition to the Keystone XL Pipeline, Bush’s proposals are generally consistent with his previous energy policy positions, and focus on enabling U.S. energy exports, reducing regulation, expanding domestic production, and approving the Keystone Pipeline, with a focus on inexpensive energy and job creation.
In a formal announcement yesterday at Rice Energy in Pennsylvania, Bush placed his proposals in the context that energy is not a sector in itself, but rather, an input into every other sector in the economy. Bush argues for a dramatic multiplier effect from the shale energy revolution, which has helped create jobs not only in the shale patch, but all along the supply chain, while stimulating the manufacturing sector.
Bush’s policy team articulated an energy plan resting on four planks.
- Free Trade: Bush supports lifting the ban on crude oil exports and ending restrictions on exports of natural gas.
- End Overregulation: Bush cites the Clean Power Plan, regulations on production of shale oil and gas on federal lands, and regulation of coal ash as examples of overregulation from the Obama administration. The negative implications are uncertainty for investors and lower oil and gas development, as well as increasing costs to consumers. Bush aims for general regulatory reforms, with particular attention focused on regulations targeted at the energy industry if elected.
- States’ Rights: Bush argues that the federal government should give more deference to states that want to develop their energy resources on federal lands, naming Alaska and Virginia as examples where residents support broader resource development.
- Approve the Keystone XL Pipeline: A policy position separating him from Clinton, Bush describes approving Keystone as a “no brainer” and says that the pipeline will support 42,000 jobs while under construction.
Bush adds that, for those who live on the margin, energy costs can be a large portion of their monthly budget. Thus, cutting energy costs by reducing regulation across the board “would provide relief to those who need it most.”
Following a session earlier this week, sources close to The Fuse report that the Bush campaign says that while other candidates are discussing creating job growth and putting more money in people’s pockets, Jeb Bush stands alone in offering near-term solutions, with energy policy proposals designed to increase jobs and wages while cutting costs for businesses and consumers.
In addition to pointing out the familiarity of Bush’s policy proposals, critics have drawn attention to the fact that Bush’s announcement did not address renewables, nuclear energy, energy efficiency, or efforts to temper U.S. oil consumption. However, Bush’s campaign states that plans discussing modernization of the electricity grid, energy research and development, renewables, alternative fuels, and more, will be released in the future.