Election 101: Where the GOP candidates stand on energy and the environment

In this 2007 file photo, the exterior of the Crawford Generating Station, a coal-fired power station, is seen in Chicago.   Nam Y. Huh/AP/File

Energy and the environment are typically “back burner” issues in national elections, but both are huge this year for Republicans. From tarring President Obama’s administration with allegations of mismanagement and favoritism for pushing renewable-energy and a “green jobs” agenda, to lambasting “job-killing” environmental regulations, GOP candidates have embraced both energy and environmental issues with gusto. Take a look at where each of them stands. 

1. Newt Gingrich

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    Republican presidential candidate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich speaks during a business forum, Thursday, Dec. 8, 2011, in Greenville, S.C.
    Rainier Ehrhardt
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Energy, fossil fuels

Would maximize oil, gas, and “clean coal” production; remove “bureaucratic and legal” obstacles; end ban on oil shale development; share federal royalties with states to promote offshore oil. 

Energy, alternatives

Pledges to finance clean-energy research and projects using oil and gas royalties, supports nuclear and wind. Gets an ‘A’ from Iowa corn growers for ethanol and renewable-fuels support. 

Climate change

Opposes cap-and-trade regulation. In 2008 TV ad, said US “must take action to address climate change.” Now says ad was “probably the dumbest thing I’ve done in recent years.” Once cosponsored legislation that blamed “human activities” for warming, but later said he did not know if humans were to blame. 

Environmental regulations

Would replace “job killing” EPA with “Environmental Solutions Agency,” using incentives to work with local government and industry. Seeks “loser pays” laws: environmental lawsuit losers pay all legal costs.

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