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Drill, baby, drill

Posted in: Energy
Tags: Energy Romney election

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney unveiled a “drill, baby, drill” energy plan yesterday that he says will make North America energy independent within eight years. The plan would open up new areas of the US to oil and gas exploration, ease environmental regulations that could hinder the use of fossil fuels, promote greater energy collaboration with Canada and Mexico, and curtail subsidies for wind and solar. Romney says his plan would create 3 million new jobs and help revive the US economy. “The key is to embrace these resources and open access to them,” he says in his 21-page white paper.

US energy production has been increasing under President Obama, but he has moved cautiously on offshore drilling because of environmental concerns, particularly in the wake of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. He has also backed subsidies for green energy development as a long-term hedge against what he sees as finite petroleum resources, a strategy embraced by many other countries, including China.

Romney, who accuses Obama of bankrupting the coal industry and stifling oil and gas development, says he would get the federal government out of the way of private industry. He would expand offshore drilling, particularly off the coast of Virginia and the Carolinas, approve the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada, and allow states to establish drilling policies on federal lands within their borders. He would support alternative energy research but scrap subsidies for wind and solar. “At current prices, these technologies make little sense for the consuming public but great sense only for the companies reaping profits from taxpayer subsidies,” he says.

The Washington Post notes the country could be close to energy independence by 2020 anyway, what with surging natural gas production and oil imports declining. The Post says two-thirds of US oil imports will come from Canada and Mexico by 2020, and imports overall could decline further if fuel-economy standards are extended, an issue Romney doesn’t address in his white paper.

USA Today reports that many petroleum companies that are backing Romney would benefit from his plan. The New York Times says Romney’s proposal to give states permitting control over federal lands within their borders would undo policy dating back to Teddy Roosevelt.

David Lazarus, writing in the Los Angeles Times, isn’t buying Romney’s approach. “More drilling and fewer rules. What could go wrong?” he asks.

                                                                                                                                                              --BRUCE MOHL

BEACON HILL

The Inspector General says Lowell violated state bidding laws in the procurement of a new wireless fire-alarm system, the Sun reports.

Attorney General Martha Coakley fires a warning shot at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, warning them to comply with the state’s new foreclosure law.

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

In an editorial, the Globe urges Mayor Tom Menino to veto a Boston City Council redistricting plan that it says diminishes minority voting clout while aiding the chairman of the redistricting committee who drew up the map, Councilor Bill Linehan, who narrowly won reelection last year.

The owner of a Brockton pool where a 2-year-old girl drowned last month will be cited for code violations that officials say could have prevented the death.

Revere officials are proposing a tough, new rat ordinance, the Item reports.

The Salem City Council voted 6-5 not to put a proposal to adopt the Community Preservation Act on the November ballot, the Salem News reports.

Lenox police attempt to crack down on cars failing to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks, but find no one was really breaking the rules to begin with, the Berkshire Eagle reports.

The Cambridge Redevelopment Authority has made many decisions since late 2009, but none of them actually count.

CASINOS

MGM says it has internal polling that shows a casino referendum would pass in Springfield, but the casino giant isn’t giving any specifics.

A federal judge opens the door to legalized online poker.

ELECTION 2012

CommonWealth mined the online reports from local TV stations on political ad buys and finds a conservative Republican Super PAC is planning on having a huge impact in the race between embattled US Rep. John Tierney and his GOP opponent Richard Tisei. And while congressional candidate Joseph P. Kennedy III is insisting he’s focused on the primary, he’s ordered more than $450,000 of commercial time on Boston stations in the weeks leading up to the November general election.

Gawker publishes 950 pages of confidential internal audited financial statements from Bain Capital and asks for help in deciphering them. Marketplace does an explainer. The Globe takes a look and notes Romney profited from an investment in the Harlem Globetrotters. Romney weighs in with a Wall Street Journal editorial entitled “What I Learned at Bain Capital,” while also submitting to a Journal profile in which he says he won’t try too hard to make people like him. This likely marks the first, and last, time Romney takes advice from David Bernstein. Two hurricanes -- one named Isaac, the other Ron Paul -- push up Romney’s nomination.

Keller@Large says the potential hurricane bearing down on Tampa just in time for the Republican National Convention poses possibilities for the GOP to turn the words about self-sufficiency into action.

Paul Ryan bashing across the ideological divide! David Brooks raps Ryan’s stonewalling of a grand deficit-reduction bargain, while Paul Krugman links Ryan’s earnest efforts to cut social safety net programs to his devotion to Ayn Rand.

At stops in Lawrence and Methuen, US Sen. Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren trade barbs, the Eagle-Tribune reports. WBUR analyzes where the two candidates stand on immigration issues. Rob Eno at Red Mass Group says Warren is now running against a generic Republican instead of Scott Brown.

Awkward: Massachusetts Citizens for Life, the state’s leading antiabortion organization, says it will support Brown’s reelection. Brown supports abortion rights. His voting record in the US Senate, however, has earned an 80 percent approval rating from the National Right to Life Committee, based on five key votes. Also awkward in Brown’s pursuit of moderate independent voters: Former Boston mayor -- and staunch abortion opponent -- Ray Flynn, who cut a widely-run TV ad endorsing Brown, tells the Globe, “His heart is prolife.”

Senate President Therese Murray squared off against her primary opponent, Stephen Michael Palmer, in a debate on WATD.

E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post argues Elizabeth Warren needs to convey more warmth in the campaign to beat a very likeable Scott Brown.

The Atlantic assesses President Obama as a black president, arguing that the Obama presidency “reveals the false promise and double standard of integration.”

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

Donald Luskin says in the National Review the stock market rally of late is due to optimism over the Romney-Ryan ticket, not President Obama’s policies.

The New York Fed sells AIG’s awful subprime mortgage instruments back to AIG, at a healthy profit.

CHARITY

Older women are far more generous than men their age, according to a new study from the Indiana University Center on Philanthropy. (Via Chronicle of Philanthropy.)

EDUCATION

Boston public schools do not have enough seats to accommodate all the families of would-be kindergartners who have registered for the coming school year, a positive sign of interest in the system but another example of the district’s recent history of poor planning and execution.

Former US attorney Wayne Budd will direct an investigation of allegations of financial mismanagement and underreporting of crimes at Roxbury Community College.

Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey signs a college reorganization bill, the Inquirer reports.

Hampshire College, in Amherst, will offer a scholarship program for illegal immigrants, report the Globe and the AP.

HEALTH CARE

WBUR does a check-up on one of America’s most expensive patients.

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

Cape Wind is moving its headquarters to a marina in Falmouth to be closer to the proposed wind turbine site, the Associated Press reports (via Telegram & Gazette).

Provincetown officials try to crack down on excess squid fishing by introducing a catch limit at a town pier.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

The Supreme Judicial Court sided with the Patriot Ledger and ordered the release of search warrant affidavits in the rape and drug charges against well-known Quincy developer William O’Connell.

A Fall River correctional officer at the Bristol County jail was found not guilty of bringing drugs to an inmate after the officer’s lawyer argued his client was the victim of entrapment.

New Bedford officials said they never did a criminal background check on a city employee who was charged with armed robbery because the state prohibits them. State public safety officials say that’s not the case.

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