Jeb Bush outlines energy plan, calling for lifting Oil and Gas restraints
Jeb Bush pitched his newly released energy plan here Tuesday, calling for lifting restrictions on producing and exporting oil and gas as part of his blueprint for achieving 4 percent economic growth -- a figure he talks about frequently as a GOP presidential candidate.
The former Florida governor outlined a plan with four general components that are in line with the Republican orthodoxy: removing the decades-long ban on exporting crude oil and easing restrictions on natural gas; approving construction of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline; stripping away some environmental regulations; and urging the federal government to yield to the energy desires of state and tribes.
"The radical environmentalists are not allowing Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to do what they know is the right thing to do," said Bush, speaking of the Keystone XL pipeline.
Bush delivered remarks about his plan Tuesday afternoon at Rice Energy near Pittsburgh, Pa., a company that says its mission is to be "the paradigm for oil and gas exploration and production companies in the shale generation." Earlier in the day, he posted his plan on Medium.
Bush's event was held under a large tent on a rainy afternoon. He arrived riding in a white pickup truck and as he spoke, some supporters sat in the back of two more pickup trucks positioned behind him.
In his post, Bush argues that Clinton, a Democratic White House hopeful, "baldly politicized the government permitting process" by opposing construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. Clinton came out against the pipeline last week. During a recent campaign event in South Carolina, Bush mocked surprise in Clinton's decision.
In calling for the federal government to yield to local officials and residents, Bush argued that states and tribes "are best able to weigh the benefits and costs of oil and gas development."
Environmental activists and Democrats panned Bush's proposal.
"This plan promises voters the world, but the truth is that the world is exactly what it would sacrifice to fatten the wallets of dirty energy conglomerates," said Sierra Club political director Khalid Pitts in a statement.
Bush unveiled his plan amid a significant development in the energy industry: Royal Dutch Shell announced Monday that it planned to indefinitely suspend Arctic drilling off the coast of Alaska after finding insufficient oil and gas in one of its exploratory wells, a move that encouraged environmental activists.
Bush, who is trying to recover from a dip in the polls following the second televised presidential debate, will campaign on Wednesday in New Hampshire, a state widely seen as key to his chances of claiming the GOP nomination.