Pence Unveils Plan to Restore US Energy Independence

Pence Unveils Plan to Restore US Energy Independence
Former Vice President Mike Pence speaks to a crowd during an event sponsored by the Palmetto Family organization in Columbia, S.C., on April 29, 2021. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS—Former Vice President Mike Pence unveiled an energy policy aimed at displacing China as the world’s largest energy producer. Mr. Pence, now a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, portrayed energy dominance as vital for national security and economic growth in a campaign statement released on Aug. 8.

“The extraction, production, transportation, and delivery of energy is an economic opportunity that can transform lives and communities here at home,” the statement said. “As the war in Ukraine and energy crisis in Europe have demonstrated, energy is a geopolitical weapon … We must produce and export every type of energy to maintain our influence around the world.”

“In order to lead the world again, we must extract, produce, transport, and deliver American energy,” Mr. Pence wrote on the social media platform X when announcing the plan.

Mr. Pence’s plan would make America the world’s energy superpower by 2040 without sacrificing domestic consumption, the statement said.

The plan relies heavily on increasing the domestic production of oil and natural gas as well as the extraction of minerals. If enacted, the Pence plan would dismantle much of President Joe Biden’s energy plan, which aims at environmental protection and the rapid conversion of energy production and consumption from fossil fuels to what he terms clean energy.

The Anti-Biden

President Biden announced a goal immediately upon taking office in 2021 that half of all new domestic vehicles sold in the United States in 2030 have zero emissions. Electric vehicles (EVs) are considered zero-emission vehicles.

In April, the president announced new vehicle emissions standards that would accelerate that changeover. The new rules would save consumers an estimated $12,000 in fuel and maintenance costs over the life of a vehicle and avoid almost 10 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions through 2055, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Critics pointed out that the nation’s supply chain could not respond quickly enough to meet the proposed timetable, and that forcing the change would make the country more dependent on China.

China now controls the production or processing of the vast majority of rare earth minerals, including those used in the production of lithium batteries to power EVs.

Martwaine Robinson-Assemble-electric-vehicles
Martwaine Robinson is to assemble electric vehicles at the Lucid Motors plant in Casa Grande, Ariz., on Sept. 28, 2021. (Caitlin O’Hara/Reuters)

Mr. Pence would lift Biden-era bans on mining and ease the regulation of mineral production. However, other aspects of his plan would slow the transition to alternative energy sources.

Oil and Gas

Mr. Pence states that he would encourage the production of all forms of energy, but the plan is weighted toward boosting the production of fossil fuels.

In short, the plan calls for cutting the approval time for energy production in half, opening federal land for oil and gas drilling, expanding pipeline and storage facilities for natural gas, increasing oil refining capacity, restarting drilling projects that have been halted by lawsuits, cutting federal emissions regulations on the production of electricity, and replenishing the nation’s strategic oil reserves.

Mr. Pence would also end tax cuts and credits that he says favor one type of energy over another.

“While the government has worked to limit oil, coal, and gas production, it subsidizes green energy at the expense of taxpayers,” the statement said. “President Pence will not pick winners and losers in the energy market and will oppose any legislation that expands taxpayer subsidies for any forms of energy.”

This appears to be a reference to President Biden’s clean energy tax policies, which include tax credits for the purchase of EVs and home solar panels.

NTD Photo
Oil pumpjacks in the Inglewood Oil Field in Los Angeles, Calif., on Jan. 28, 2022. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Mr. Pence’s statement did not mention tax credits given to producers of petroleum products, such as the marginal well tax credit and the enhanced oil recovery credit, which are intended to incentivize domestic oil production, according to international accounting firm Deloitte.

The Environment

Mr. Pence has also said he would shutter the EPA and distribute its functions to other federal agencies. Yet he insists that domestic energy production was increased while environmental conditions improved during the Trump-Pence administration.

“We got out of the Paris Climate Accord, and nobody really noticed that we actually exceeded the goals in the Paris Climate Accord in reducing CO2, but we did it through American innovation. We did it through unleashing American energy,” Mr. Pence said in a CNN interview on Aug. 6.

“I believe, through innovation, through diversification in energy, we can practice conservation on our land. We had the cleanest air, water, and land in the history of the country during our administration. We can meet the goals in our environment without crippling the American economy,” Mr. Pence said.

“We had $2-a-gallon gas under our administration, and we achieved energy independence. We can do it again.”

Critics have charged that the Trump administration weakened environmental protections through deregulation. That includes 74 instances of energy and environmental deregulation, according to Brookings, such as rolling back standards for greenhouse gas emissions, lowering fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks, and reducing regulations aimed at ensuring clean air and water.

From The Epoch Times

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