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Ted Cruz presents fossil fuel centric energy plan

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Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas announced at the Heritage Action for America’s 2014 Conservative Policy Summit his ideas for promoting American energy independence in a Feb. 10, 2014 speech.

Among the ideas which will soon be incorporated in a bill that will shortly be introduced in the senate are:

“1) Prevent Federal Regulation of Hydraulic Fracturing.

Leave regulation of hydraulic fracturing in state hands

“2) Improve Domestic Refining Capacity.

Streamline the permitting process for upgrading and building new refineries

Repeal the Renewable Fuel Standard

“3) Improve Process to Develop Energy Infrastructure.

Approve and allow private sector to build the Keystone pipeline

Remove barriers to developing and approving additional national pipelines and cross-border energy infrastructure

“4) Stop EPA Overreach and the War on Coal.

Exclude greenhouse gases from regulation by EPA and other federal agencies

Stop certain EPA regulations that will adversely impact coal and electric power plants

“5) Force Congress and the President to Vote on EPA Regulations that Kill Jobs.

Require both Congress and the President to approve any EPA regulation that has a negative job impact

Support passage of the REINS Act, separate piece of legislation not included in this bill, which would require congressional approval of all major rules and regulations.

“6) Broaden Energy Development on Federal Land.

Increase energy development on federal land

Provide states the option of leasing, permitting and regulating energy resources on federal lands within their borders; or

If states do not wish to manage energy development on federal lands within their borders, the federal leasing, permitting and regulating will be reformed to increase energy development by:

Streamlining permitting for development on federal lands

Improving certainty in the leasing and development process

Expanding development of energy on federal lands

Expand energy development in National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska

Expand energy development on Indian lands

Open up the Coastal Plain of Alaska (ANWR) for development

“7) Open Offshore Exploration.

Expand the offshore areas of the Outer Continental Shelf available for development

Streamline the permitting process for additional offshore exploration

“8) Expand U.S. Energy Exports.

Expand LNG exports by facilitating permits

End the crude oil export ban

Prevent excessively broad environmental review of coal export terminals

“9) Dedicate Additional Revenues to a Trust Fund for Debt Reduction

Direct all additional revenues generated by exploration and drilling on federal lands (excluding the share allocated to the states) exclusively to national debt reduction—‘Debt Freedom Fund.’”

There are a number of features about Cruz’s energy plan that is worthy of note.

First, it is almost exclusively concentrated on promoting fossil fuel energy production. Nowhere in Cruz’s outline does one see the words “solar,” “wind,” “nuclear,” “biofuels,” or “alternative.”

Second the plan has some features that are designed to rattle the cages of environmentalists, including the rolling back of EPA regulations, restricting its power to slow down energy production, opening up federal lands to energy production, and repealing the Renewable fuel standard. Farmers will be outraged by the last because it refers to corn created ethanol that is blended with gasoline.

The third interesting aspect of the plan is tying oil and gas royalties that the government would garner to debt reduction. So long as the federal budget is out of balance, this involves a simple accounting trick that won’t actually reduce the debt. But if the budget were to ever become balanced, as it was briefly in the late 1990s, the plan would have a certain appeal to deficit hawks who are appalled at the $17 trillion and growing national debt.

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