Obama's Energy Policy Hailed, Assailed

Article excerpt

Surrogates for the presidential campaigns clashed on Monday over whether President Obama's policies help or hinder domestic energy development.

John Hanger, former Gov. Ed Rendell's Department of Environmental Protection secretary, credited Obama with pushing domestic oil production to its highest level in 14 years. Current DEP Secretary Michael Krancer said that came from wells on private land over which Obama has little control.

"Energy policy is being driven by ... a rogue and hubristic Environmental Protection Agency," said Krancer, former general counsel for energy producer Exelon Corp., at the IBEW Local 5 Hall in the South Side, where Consumer Energy Alliance, an industry group, hosted the debate at the close of its Pennsylvania Energy and Manufacturing Summit.

Krancer accused the EPA of misusing the Clean Air and Clean Water acts to regulate the coal and natural gas industries. Republican nominee Mitt Romney said last month he'd transfer permitting power to states to speed drilling on public land.

Hanger, an Eckert Seamans lawyer who focuses on clean energy and energy efficiency, criticized Romney for proposing to end subsidies for wind and solar power, $65 billion and $90 billion industries, respectively.

"Gov. Romney has pledged to pull the plug on the growing American wind and solar industries, threatening jobs and job creation," Hanger said to a mostly empty ballroom. About 50 people attended the summit. Thirty-five or so remained by the end of the secretaries' dueling speeches. …