Team McCain Conference Call: Energy

With demand swelling from the American electorate to increase supply, if you’ll pardon my pun, it’s small wonder that Team McCain wanted to talk about John McCain’s energy policy today. Nancy Pfotenhauer, a senior adviser on domestic policy, hosted the conference call today.

Nancy started off by highlighting the hundreds of billions of dollars going out of the US for its energy needs.  Gas prices have a “severe impact” on the economy; almost all goods have increased because of distribution costs, but food has also increased because of the ethanol mandates Obama supported.

It’s not only irrational but irresponsible to ignore vast energy resources while pursuing unrealized technologies.  Congressional Democrats have blocked the responsible policy.  Nancy calls this the same as the surge debate.  McCain sees the long-term success of his plan, while Democrats remain locked into short-term thinking.

McCain also wants to transform the transportation sector.  Tax credits for zero-emission cars would do much more than mandates on the manufacturing end to move Americans to more efficient models.

Nuclear power is a proven zero-emission resource, and it’s time we embraced it more fully.  Clean coal, solar, hydro, and other alternatives need to be explored as fully as possible.  McCain wants 45 new nuclear plants built by 2030, many of them on existing locatioms.


  • Me: Will McCain reconsider his opposition in drilling in ANWR?  No, he remains committed to protecting ANWR, saying “refuge” is there for a reason.  There are over 20 billion barrels proven in the OCS and a lot more in shale.
  • How will McCain jump-start the nuclear industry?  We need to expedite the permitting.  We also need to expedite the Yucca Mountain storage facility as well.
  • Jazz Shaw: Would McCain do a thorough review of the NRC as president to streamline the process?  As long as their oversight on safety and environmental issues remains in place, McCain would see that as an important step in the process.  They feel certain that McCain can work across the aisle to accomplish this.
  • Red State: Has the Senator reached out in specific ways to the auto industry in order for them to do long-term planning, especially on electric power for vehicles?  Good question, because we need to guard against excessive economic dislocation.  McCain wants to work with the private sector to help with that long-term planning.  They want to have a partnership, rather than mandate relationship.  “Government is notoriously bad at picking winners and losers.”
  • Russ Kominsky: The Left’s goals with climate-change policy is to change the economy.  Has McCain started looking at the newer science, which minimizes the impact of carbon on climate change?  “We hear from them frequently,” but McCain believes the bulk of the science demands action on reducing carbon emissions.  McCain draws a distinction between his plan and Obama’s on cap-and-trade.  The McCain system extends goal commitments farther out to help in the transition, which Obama doesn’t — and that will bring significantly higher energy costs almost immediately.  It transfers the capital to the government, and the consumers will bear the burden.

I’m still not buying on the cap-and-trade or the ANWR policy.  ANWR has a portion specifically set aside for energy development which, as Rep. Michele Bachmann noted this week, is barren of the wildlife that critics claim to protect.  In fact, it has no particularly singular ecology at all.  The “refuge” applies to all but the 2,000 acre lot that Congress explicitly designated for drilling 30 years ago, and which has remained trapped in a silly, useless political tug-of-war.

However, we can argue about ANWR later if we can get access to the OCS and the interior for oil and natural gas exploration.  McCain makes strong commitments to those policies, which sets a clear demarcation between himself and Barack Obama.

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