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Romney's Energy Proposal: The Jurassic Plan

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Mitt Romney finally unveiled his energy plan, and it came so loaded with fossil fuels, we might as well call it the Jurassic Plan.

In a stubborn rejection of the realities of the 21st Century, Romney is trying to sell us a sputtering lemon that moves better in reverse. This clunker also runs over the almost unanimous determination of the Latino community to move toward a clean energy economy that frees us from pollution and confronts the challenges of climate disruption.

This Jurassic Plan is custom-made to the specifications of Big Oil. In fact, the Romney Campaign actually acknowledged that they explicitly crafted it along with oil executives. And to satisfy this unquenchable thirst for crude, it proposes to drill in the Arctic, offshore and our public lands.

This insistence on drilling at all costs ignores the most basic rules of arithmetic. The U.S. consumes 25 percent of the world's oil production, but we have only 3 percent of the planet's oil reserves.

His Jurassic Plan also protects the $40 billion in subsidies Big Oil receives with compliments of the taxpayer, even though this industry has made $1 trillion in profits since 2001.

According to a recent national survey by the Sierra Club and NCLR, 83 percent of Latinos believe fossil fuels are a thing of the past and almost 90 percent support federal investments in clean, not dirty, energy. The study also revealed that 92 percent consider taking care of God's Creation, including our public lands, as a moral responsibility.

The contrasts between Romney's plan and the wishes of the Latino community are truly astounding. He opposes extending the wind production tax credit, which would cost some 30,000 good jobs and cripple this industry. He would also reverse two historic rounds of strong vehicle fuel-efficiency standards announced by the Obama administration requiring that by 2025 vehicles yield at least 54.5 miles per gallon. The standards will also reduce the country's carbon emissions by 10 percent by 2030.

On the other hand, almost 60 percent of Latinos are willing to pay more for their electricity as long as it comes from clean sources, and almost 90 percent would rather work for clean energy industries than dirty ones.

And when it comes to pollution protections, we see the starkest differences. Romney's plan threatens to reverse the Obama administration's protections against mercury and carbon pollution from coal-burning plants. This pollution punishes us Latinos in a disproportionate way.

The Club's survey revealed that 47 percent of respondents said a member of their immediate families suffers from asthma and 41 percent from cancer. Moreover, 43 percent said they either live or work dangerously close to a toxic site, such as a coal-burning plant.

And finally, Romney rejects that climate disruption is caused by fossil fuels and doesn't believe we can or should do anything about it. For 92 percent of Latinos, however, climate disruption is nothing to be debated but a reality to be confronted.

Latino voters have two dramatically different options for the nation's energy future. On one hand, President Obama proposes to continue advancing toward a clean energy economy that frees us from our oil and coal addiction, protect us from pollution and confronts the climate disruption challenge.

On the other, a Jurassic Plan that doubles down on the causes of our energy crisis, rejects 21st Century alternatives and put us all down the path of the dinosaurs.

Javier Sierra is a Sierra Club columnist. Follow him on Twitter @javier_sc.