Some economists say the number is a stretch. And it may be moot, since Obama overruled the Environmental Protection Agency and shelved new ozone regulations in September, angering environmentalists.
The Romney campaign says that the “Believe in America” booklet went to press the day before Obama’s action on ozone rules. Nonetheless, Romney’s campaign Web site still asserts that the Obama administration “has pursued numerous regulations that would drive up energy prices while destroying millions of jobs.”
It is just one in a slew of Romney attacks on Obama’s energy policies. The Republican presidential candidate talks about building nuclear plants, opening up virtually every part of U.S. land and waters to oil and gas drilling, exploiting coal and stripping the EPA of much of its authority, especially when it comes to regulating greenhouse gases.
Asked whether any place would be off limits for oil drilling, campaign spokesman Andrea Saul said, “Governor Romney will permit drilling wherever it can be done safely, taking into account local concerns.”
Energy is a tricky issue this year. Romney’s and Obama’s positions have moved along with the nation’s shifting energy landscape. Obama has grown more supportive of natural gas and oil drilling, striving to become an “all of the above” energy candidate.
Recently, Romney, who says he opposes federal aid for renewable energy, has portrayed the bankrupt solar panel maker Solyndra, a recipient of $535 million in federal loan guarantees, as a poster child of policy failure. After talking to reporters outside the shuttered Solyndra plant last week, Romney released a television ad featuring images of the plant and of Romney, who tells viewers that the now-bankrupt company’s federal funding is an example of “crony capitalism.”
Romney’s view that the government should cut off aid to renewable energy marks a reversal for the candidate. On Jan. 22, 2003, after becoming Massachusetts governor, Romney stood in front of Konarka, a developer of thin-film solar panels, and handed out $9 million from a “green energy fund” to renewable energy firms. Two years later, he said that “clean energy” was “an economic engine very much like biotech” that could spur “explosive growth” in Massachusetts. Romney said he would make Massachusetts a more appealing place for such companies.
On June 1, however, the day after Romney stood in front of Solyndra, Konarka went bankrupt. Although Konarka had raised large amounts from private investors, ultimately it closed its manufacturing plant and laid off 85 people.