Beyond Obama and Romney: Considering the energy policy of other presidential candidates

By Erin Voegele | September 27, 2012

Earlier this week I published an article that summarized the results of a questionnaire that the American Farm Bureau Federation submitted to President Barack Obama and candidate Mitt Romney. When it came to their respective responses on energy, it was clear that they both support increased domestic energy production and the goal of energy independence. Obama, however, is much more supportive of renewable energy sources, while Romney’s response focused primary on further deployment of domestic fossil fuel sources.

I could go on and on about the specifics of each candidate’s responses, and how each policy platform could impact the renewable energy, biomass and biofuel industries—but, I won’t. It was recently pointed out to me that those of us in the media sometimes do our audience a disservice by always focusing on only the Democratic and Republican parties and ignoring the policies, platforms and candidates of the wide variety of other political parties active in the U.S.

Those who have leveled those criticisms may have a point. In early 2012, Gallup announced the results of a poll regarding political affiliation. That poll found that in 2011 a full 40 percent of voters identified themselves as independents not associated with either the Republican or Democratic parties.

So, today, instead of dwelling on the policy platforms of Obama and Romney, I’m going to take the opportunity to introduce you to some of the “alternative” presidential candidates, who are vying for your votes in November. In most states these candidates will either be included on the ballot, or accepted as write in candidates.

So, here we go. These are the energy policy platforms of your presidential candidates representing the Green Party, The Libertarian Party, The Justice Party, and the Constitution Party:

Green Party candidate Jill Stein: Stein supports creating a binding international treaty to reduce atmospheric CO2 in an effort to reduce global warming. She also supports phasing out coal plants, ending mountaintop removal in Appalachia, and redirecting research funds away from fossil fuels and putting that money towards research in renewable energy and conservation. Stein supports a nationwide smart grid that can pool and store power from a diversity of renewable sources. She wants to phase out nuclear power and end nuclear subsidies. She also supports bringing an end to fracking and ending federal subsidies for clean coal. Finally, she wants to halt drilling that threatens public lands and water resources, and also wants to halt the Keystone XL pipeline.

Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson: Johnson says that clean air, water and a healthy environment are important to all Americans and that affordable energy is critical to not only quality of live, but economic prosperity. He also thinks that when it comes to the environment, the government’s responsibility is simply to protect us from those who would do us harm and damage our property. He also says that government should not promote or try to manage energy development, but rather leave those functions up to the marketplace. He states that government subsidies and incentives for specific forms of energy don’t work and that essential environmental protection doesn’t require destroying jobs, infringing on property rights or curtailing freedom.

Justice Party candidate Rocky Anderson: Anderson supports government leadership in research, development and commercialization of low-carbon energy technologies. He also supports ending subsidies for fossil energy and shifting them to revenue-neutral public investment and commercialization of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies. He also wants the natural gas industry to disclose the contents of fracking agents. Anderson wants to launch an economy-wide initiative to make the U.S. the most energy-efficient industrial economy in the world within 20 years. In addition, he wants to support the military’s goals to become a leader in the use of renewable energy. He things the world’s top 20 industrial nations should fulfill their commitment to end fossil energy subsidies and supports U.S. leadership in the matter. He would reform the national transportation system to stop favoring highways over mass transit. He also supports improving education and job training programs for green-collar jobs, and putting an end to public subsidies for nuclear energy. Finally, he promotes an economy-wide collaboration in the transition to a clean energy economy.

Constitution Party candidate Virgil Goode: Goode says the U.S. must free itself from foreign fossil fuel and free itself from the Middle Eastern sheiks, Nigeria, and Venezuela. He says that we can’t allow OPEC to control our energy supply and that the U.S. must develop its own research and alternative fuel source, including hydrogen, biodiesel and others. He also supports nuclear power and expanding drilling for natural gas and oil, including drilling in Alaska, the continental U.S., and coastal regions.