The 2016 presidential primaries continue to be compelling viewing. Both the Republican and Democratic process could go all the way to their respective conventions in Cleveland and Philadelphia. However, as I have previously written, there has been an unfortunate lack of solid debate about energy policy throughout the campaign.
Recently, Forbes published “How The Presidential Candidates Stack Up On Energy Issues,” and noted the lack of energy discussion. “There’s little talk of energy and, even when the candidates offer a few proposals on their campaign website or mention them during a debate, there is a dismaying lack of detail.”
There have been a few minor exceptions: Bernie Sander’s call for an outright ban on fracking, Hillary Clinton’s call to regulate fracking out of existence, and John Kasich saying we need everything. But Forbes recognizes that “none of them has released a detailed and coherent energy policy, even as the impact of the oil bust – low prices, big layoffs and concerns about the global economy – collide with questions about mitigating climate change.”
The article touts import quotas and support for new pipelines as possible policy initiatives. The pipelines are definitely needed: believe it or not, locations on the east coast are receiving liquefied natural gas (LNG) via tanker because the U.S. does not have the necessary 250 miles of gas pipe to move natural gas from the Marcellus in Pennsylvania – natural gas that would be less than half the price of the LNG. As a recent column from the American Thinker notes, this is a result of the complete lack of federal support for shale energy. Author William F. Shughart II takes an aggressive stance in his column, warning that “the threat of backsliding is far too real. We need a policy that allows market forces to determine the mix of energy sources that power the American economy. A balanced policy that resists playing favorites is the best way of ensuring abundant energy supplies and affordability for the all too often neglected energy consumer.”
Next up on the campaign trail is New York, a state that has been at the center of the fracking and energy policy debate.