It didn't take long for Mitt Romney and President Obama to get into a heated exchange over oil production on public lands during last week’s debate:
It’s amazing how Mitt Romney can lie to 65 million Americans with such a straight face. According to the Congressional Research Service crude oil production on public lands is UP under President Obama.
President Obama is correct. Oil companies have just been sitting on their permits and not drilling. So Interior Secretary Ken Salazar made a common sense move and stopped issuing new permits until oil companies used the ones that have already been issued.
Meanwhile, Mitt Romney wants to turn over all federal public lands over to oil companies for use. His energy plan is basically focused on one thing: oil. It’s catered to the oil companies needs and specifically states that renewable energy research should take place in the private sector.
In the past Romney has attacked green energy calling it “imaginary”. In March Mitt Romney wrote:
"In place of real energy, Obama has focused on an imaginary world where government-subsidized windmills and solar panels could power the economy..."
Just yesterday The Denver Post endorsed President Obama and slammed Mitt Romney’s “drill-at-all-costs” energy plan:
"Romney notes correctly that North America is poised to become an energy exporter. But the drill-at-all-costs mantra he is pushing runs counter to the predominant view in Colorado, which is one that balances energy and environment — particularly when it comes to public land. And, unlike the Republican nominee, we believe our nation's energy portfolio must include government investment in renewable sources such as wind and solar — both of which can become sources of more power and more jobs in the future."
It’s no surprise Mitt Romney could care less about protecting public lands that have been handed down from generation to generation for outdoor recreational use. He’s said in the past he doesn't “know what the purpose is” of public lands.
This is a serious issue, and it’s getting very little attention. A prime example of our public lands being at risk is playing out right now in Arizona.
Republican Congressman Jeff Flake is a former uranium industry lobbyist who’s currently running for Senate in Arizona. He’s pushing to let energy companies drill around the Grand Canyon for uranium. Not only will public lands be destroyed if the drilling takes place, but the Colorado River and the water supply it supports could be contaminated.
Currently the Obama Administration has blocked all new uranium mines in the region, but if Mitt Romney ends up in the White House his energy plan would open up Arizona’s public lands to the energy companies.
Here’s a quick documentary on uranium mining in Arizona from the Center for American Progress: