Marco Rubio gave his first major speech on energy policy Friday afternoon at BOC Water Hydraulics in Salem, Ohio, where he spent considerable time criticizing the Environmental Protection Agency for overriding consumers and undercutting innovators, resulting in “fewer choices, fewer jobs, and higher prices for our people.”
Speaking in the home of fellow GOP presidential candidate John Kasich, Rubio said that if elected, he’d immediately stop the Clean Power Plan, a set of carbon pollution standards for existing power plants issued by the EPA in consultation with the public, industry and the states that aims to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from power plants by 870 million tons (or 32 percent) from 2005 levels by 2030.
He also said he would simplify the permitting process for oil and gas pipelines. “If our bureaucrats were half as efficient at approving development projects as they were at approving new rules, our economy would be much stronger than it is today,” he said.
The EPA isn’t the only federal environmental agency that Rubio aspires to bring down in size and scope. Florida’s junior U.S. senator mentioned that there are at least 10 agencies that regulate the energy industry, which he says is way too much. That’s why he’d attempt to “cripple” the regulatory power of all federal agencies by instituting a National Regulatory Budget, which would force them to limit the amount that new rules can cost the private sector.
Rubio said that Democrats such as Hillary Clinton were on the wrong side of history for opposing the use of hydraulic fracking, the technology that has led to an oil boom around the country over the past several years.
Rubio will also “rewrite” the Obama Administration’s offshore drilling plan. “There are tens of billions of barrels and hundreds of trillions of cubic feet of undiscovered,” he said, “recoverable oil and gas in the Outer Continental Shelf. Our people will convert these into greater financial security, but there is also another point to be made about optimizing America’s resources.”
He would also lift the ban on exports of American crude oil and expedite exports of natural gas to American allies.
Perhaps not surprisingly, criticism came swiftly once details of his proposal went live.