Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Romney Plan Aims to Increase Drilling on Government Land

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Romney Plan Aims to Increase Drilling on Government Land

Article excerpt

The plan would allow states more control over the development of energy resources on U.S. government lands and aggressively expand offshore oil and gas drilling.

Mitt Romney announced an energy plan on Thursday that would allow states more control over the development of energy resources on U.S. government lands within their borders, as well as aggressively expand offshore oil and natural gas drilling as part of a broader effort to reach energy independence.

The plan is bound to be contentious after the disastrous BP well blowout in 2010, which leaked millions of barrels of oil in the Gulf of Mexico and left 11 workers dead.

The proposal might win votes in Virginia, where coastal drilling would bring jobs and state revenues, but would draw criticism in Florida, where offshore drilling has long been viewed as a threat to tourism.

The Romney presidential campaign released the proposal late Wednesday as part of an overall energy plan that includes granting states more regulatory power over drilling on U.S. government lands, revitalizing the nuclear power industry, and approving the Keystone XL pipeline to carry more Canadian oil to refineries in the United States. It was announced Thursday by Mr. Romney at an appearance in Hobbs, New Mexico.

"What Gov. Romney is proposing is that state governments, which already control the development of energy resources on their own and private lands within their borders, would also control the development of energy resources on federal lands within their borders," Oren Cass, the campaign's domestic policy director, said Wednesday during a conference call with reporters.

The proposal will surely be controversial among environmentalists hoping to preserve lands like desert stretches of New Mexico where threatened species roam. A campaign document, however, said the proposal would exclude "lands specially designated off-limits," which presumably means national parks.

The campaign of President Barack Obama released a statement by Federico F. Pena, a secretary of energy in the administration of Bill Clinton, criticizing Mr. Romney's emphasis on drilling. …

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