Advertisement
  1. Opinion

Editorial: Rubio's backward energy policy

As the youngest of the major candidates for president, Sen. Marco Rubio portrays himself as a leader for the future. But the energy policy he has outlined is stuck in the past.
As the youngest of the major candidates for president, Sen. Marco Rubio portrays himself as a leader for the future. But the energy policy he has outlined is stuck in the past.
Published Oct. 23, 2015

As the youngest of the major candidates for president, Sen. Marco Rubio portrays himself as a leader for the future. But the energy policy he has outlined is stuck in the past, relying on the dirtiest fuels and playing to energy industry campaign donors at the expense of jobs, public health, consumers, the environment and global security. It is a backward approach that fails to recognize the importance of renewable energy and the clear threat of climate change, and it would be particularly harmful to Tampa Bay and Florida.

Rubio's penchant for saying one thing and doing another was on full display during his energy speech earlier this month in Ohio. The Republican candidate faulted Democrat Hillary Clinton for an "outdated" energy strategy even as he called for expanding offshore oil and gas drilling, rolling back the Obama administration's clean air rules and blocking any international effort to combat climate change. His campaign appearance at a company that manufactures pumping equipment was aimed at promoting hydraulic fracking — the practice of pumping water and chemicals underground to release natural gas buried deep in rock formations. He promised to allow the Keystone XL pipeline, and he would permit more oil and gas drilling. He would reverse the Obama administration's limits on greenhouse gas emissions, and he would essentially cancel the outgoing president's efforts to reach an international agreement on combating climate change.

This is a backward approach from a politician who continues to fan the myth that the energy sector is under attack and that new investments in renewable energies are too expensive and threaten too many jobs. U.S. oil and gas production is expected to remain robust for years, even as demand is constrained in part by new fuel economy standards. Rising costs for new fossil fuel resources and dropping prices for renewable technologies are expected to boost market demand for clean energy solutions. In the Tampa Bay area last week, the defense giant Lockheed Martin became the latest company to announce a massive solar project that is expected to save the firm $400,000 annually in electricity costs.

With renewables expected to account for more than one-third of all new generation capacity over the next two decades, the presidential candidates should be acknowledging the benefits to consumers, potential for jobs and improvements to public health that will come by moving away from burning fossil fuels. Already, rising seas related to a warming climate spill over the roads during high tides in Rubio's hometown of Miami.

Rubio also is wrong to ignore America's security interests in leading the global effort toward a climate agreement. The world's poorest nations will face the most dire impacts as a warming climate threatens crops, coastal flood defenses, the drinking water supply and other critical necessities of everyday life. The United States can address the issue now or manage the crises later. But the energy challenge is serious. It already is reshaping the market for labor and consumers. What it hasn't shaped is a forward-looking energy policy from all presidential candidates.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

  1. Ana Farfan reacts to getting an influenza vaccine shot at Eastfield College in Mesquite, Texas.
  2. Sunset on the harbor in Oslo, Norway at 2:30 p.m. after the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony on Dec. 10, 2018.
  3. This is an artist's concept of an inhuman being—a life-size, lifelike mannequin, controlled by a computer—being developed in Los Angeles to help train hospital residents in anesthesiology. The model also will be used for drills in proper administration of drugs, proper placing of oxygen face masks, testing of the doctor's reaction to a massive heart attack and in other anesthesiological techniques.
  4. The Cross-Bay Ferry, St. Petersburg's Coast bike share program and the Tampa Downtowner
  5. Cars locked in evening rush hour traffic on Dale Mabry Highway near Raymond James Stadium in Tampa capture perfectly the failure of Hillsborough County's transportation system. County commissioners are rightly moving forward with a backup plan to carry out transportation improvements Hillsborough voters supported in a 2018 referendum. [ZACK WITTMAN  |  Times] 
  6. "Discrimination is wrong and should not be legally supported with public funding," writes State Sen. Darryl Rouson.
  7. Florida is better positioned than before the Great Recession, economist says.
  8. Mac Stipanovich
  9. From left, Democratic presidential candidates, former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., participate in a Democratic presidential primary debate Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020, in Las Vegas, hosted by NBC News and MSNBC. (AP Photo/John Locher)
  10. Rep. Jamie Grant, R- Tampa, center,  is congratulated by House members after passage of the Amendment 4 bill, May 3, 2019. Florida lawmakers lost another round Wednesday, with a federal appeals court ruling the restrictions on felon voting rights are unconstitutional.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement