By SARA MURRAY
Mitt Romney's campaign unveiled a plan this
week to give states broad control over energy exploration on federal lands within
their borders, part of a bid that focuses largely on fossil
fuels to lead North America to energy independence by 2020.
The Republican presidential candidate's plan would let
states apply their own energy regulations and permit rules to
federal lands, a move aimed at streamlining energy exploration in the US.
It also sets out to expand offshore-drilling leases in states
such as Virginia and North and South Carolina and work more
closely with Canada and Mexico to boost production.
Mr. Romneys goal is to establish the most
aggressive leasing plan ever put forward, said Oren Cass,
the campaigns domestic-policy director.
The five-year lease plan for offshore drilling calls for
minimum production targets and progress reports to
We have an unprecedented opportunity to make our
natural resources a long-term source of competitive advantage
for our nation, Mr. Romney said in the campaigns
white paper describing the plan.
In response, the campaign of President Barack Obama
circulated a statement by Federico Pena, a former secretary of
energy under President Bill Clinton.
Romney is expected to defend billions in oil subsidies
while opposing efforts to use oil more efficiently. We will
never reach energy independence by turning our backs on
homegrown renewable energy and better auto mileage, he
US production of oil and natural
gas has surged in recent years thanks to new drilling
techniques, a trend that both Mr. Romney and Mr. Obama say they
want to encourage.
Amid a largely bleak jobs picture, the energy industry in
places such as Texas and North Dakota has proved a rare bright
The Romney plan focuses heavily on reducing red tape and
expanding oil and coal production but offers few initiatives on
green energy or environmental protection.
That is sure to invite criticism from Democrats who have
already alleged Mr. Romney is beholden to oil-industry
executives who have been generous campaign contributors.
Dow Jones Newswires