Huntsman on Energy: More Domestic Fossil Fuels and Everything Else

Nov 1, 2011

Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman says energy security would be a driving force behind his administration.  Huntsman laid out a three-part strategy that is unlikely to  find favor with either farmers in Iowa or environmentalists nationwide.

Jon Huntsman says getting the right energy policy would put Americans to work and end what he called a heroin-like addiction to foreign oil.  The former Utah governor said the 300 billion dollars each year that flow to what he labeled unfriendly regimes, would do more good if they were spent in shops at home, saved in American banks , or invested in jobs. 

Huntsman said the country is drowning in energy resources and should tap it.  He called for more extraction of natural gas through a process called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and more drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and across Alaska.

Huntsman counted oil from Canada as oil from a friend and endorsed a controversial project to pump it all the way from Alberta to Houston, Texas.

“My administration will stand firmly behind the Keystone pipeline, creating 100,000 new jobs and reducing our dependence on overseas imports.”

All of those elements trouble environmentalists.  Fracking is associated with groundwater contamination.  A 2,000 mile pipeline raises concerns about spills.  Huntsman said there must be a balancing act between using resource and maintaining the integrity of our oceans and forests.  He did not address the question of carbon emissions and climate change implicit in this strategy.

Huntsman had another idea that would seem likely to ruffle feathers among corn growers.  He promised a level playing field for all forms of energy.

“I will systematically begin to elimate every subsidy for energy companies, whether it be oil, natural gas, wind or solar.“

When campaign staff was asked later if that list would included ethanol, the response was, “all subsidies.”

Huntsman has basically written off the Iowa caucuses.  Coming out against government support for ethanol from corn would fit with that political strategy.

Huntsman also promised to target the distribution networks for gasoline and diesel fuel with anti-trust action.  The goal, he said, is to give all forms of transportation fuel an equal shot at reaching consumers.