Bush Sticks To GOP Mantra In Energy Plan

on October 02, 2015 at 12:04 PM


There weren’t too many surprises from Jeb Bush when he outlined his energy strategy in Pennsylvania earlier this week. The former Florida Governor is recovering from a drop in the polls following a poor showing in the latest Republican debate and was hitting all the right notes for traditional conservatives with his standard GOP energy policy.

Bush wants to remove a swath of current regulations for the oil and gas industry, approve construction for the Keystone pipeline, remove the crude export ban and relinquish federal power for states to pursue their own energy policies. These plans are all part of his argument that a shift towards heavy hydrocarbon investment will create jobs and thus achieve economic growth, particularly in states that are suffering from the global drop in oil oil prices. The lift of the crude export ban and proposed construction of Keystone would create jobs in these states and allow Bush to deliver on one of his biggest campaign promises. It could also be a persuasive argument in swing states such as Pennsylvania and Ohio where there is significant shale oil and gas development.

Bush’s corporate backers, particularly the major oil & gas conglomerates, will also be appeased by the candidate’s comments. His promises to ease regulations on the beleaguered industry reflect their dependence on a GOP candidate to secure their sustainability as the world prepares for a global climate agenda . The growth of clean energy technologies coupled with the Obama Administration’s green policies has waned the industry’s influence. Bush, given his family history and pro-business ideology, represents their best of chance of regaining their influence in Washington and reducing the role of the EPA.

It will take more than promising oil & gas deregulation to secure the Republican candidacy let alone the Presidency.  However, the politicisation of Keystone and climate change reinforces the importance of energy to this election and the likelihood candidates will use it as a platform for mobilising support.

It could well prove Bush’s clearest path to the White  House.