When the speakers at this year's Republican convention in Tampa stand up and attack the President's energy agenda and mock clean technology, it's important to know just who they're standing up for: Big Oil. Over the years, oil and gas interests have given more than $20 million to the speakers at this year's RNC convention, including millions directly to the Republican National Committee. It wouldn't be a stretch to call this convention Big Oil's big party for Romney.
Why is Big Oil investing millions in these convention speakers? Because they want to protect their massive profits. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan support allowing Big Oil companies to continue benefiting from billions in taxpayer-funded handouts, despite being among the most profitable industries on the planet. And that's not all -- the Romney-Ryan ticket's corporate tax plan would lead to even bigger tax breaks for the oil industry.
Their extreme energy policies mean a Romney administration will return us to the failed energy policies of the past by putting a thumb on the scale for Big Oil, and lining the pockets of wealthy oil barons and other campaign donors -- all while leaving the clean energy sector out in the cold. In fact, Romney is so outside the mainstream that if he is elected in November, he would be the first president ever to deny the scientific consensus on climate change.
Last week, Romney released a 21-page "energy independence" plan that reads like a wish list for Big Oil. Romney's plan includes 154 references to oil, but just 14 mentions of solar and 10 mentions of wind -- with zero references to climate change. What's more, just days before he announced his energy plan, Romney held a fundraiser with ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson. As the New York Times noted, Romney wrote his energy plan "in consultation" with Big Oil executives.
While Romney's embrace of "oil above all" is hardly a surprise, what's truly amazing is his outright disdain for clean energy. For example, Romney wants to let crucial tax incentives for wind energy expire, which could cost 37,000 American jobs and devastate our clean energy economy.
But the devastation for the clean energy sector -- one of the fastest growing parts of our economy -- wouldn't end there. Romney's running mate, Paul Ryan, has proposed a budget plan that is so extreme that it would cut $3 billion in energy programs in 2013, with clean energy initiatives likely targeted for the biggest cuts, and would spend just $150 million on energy programs from 2013 to 2017. That's barely 20 percent of what the Obama Administration invested in 2012 alone. Under a Romney administration, Big Oil's gain would be clean energy's loss -- just what you'd expect, since Romney's top energy advisor, Harold Hamm, is a billionaire oil baron.
It's clear that Romney is standing up for Big Oil, because Big Oil is standing up for him. Between his two Presidential campaigns, the oil and gas industry has so far given more than $2.6 million to Romney, and Big Oil interests, such as Koch brothers, have pledged to spend hundreds of millions to defeat President Obama this fall. Already, oil-backed outside groups have spent millions on energy attack ads, many targeting President Obama.
When you turn on your television and watch the convention speeches, just remember who has helped bankroll the campaigns of those anti-environment speakers attacking President Obama's clean energy record -- Big Oil. If Romney and his Big Oil buddies are successful in November, it could be money well spent.