Jeb Bush Releases His Energy Plan, A Rehash of Old and Deceitful Conservative Policies
Another day, another Republican presidential candidate releasing a policy proposal that doesn’t fit with the priorities of working Americans. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush released his energy plan today, and while he presented it as a plan to get the economy humming along, the reality is that it is out-of-date, broken, and unworkable.
Bush’s four-point plan would lift restrictions on exports of oil and natural gas; weaken or eliminate key public health standards including cuts to dangerous carbon pollution from power plants; allow states and tribes to dump unlimited pollution; and approve the Keystone XL pipeline. Eliminating limits on carbon pollution is a predictable gift for polluters and dirty energy producers, like the Koch brothers. But what breaks Jeb’s plan beyond repair is what it leaves out. The plan fails to address climate change. It would take us backward by undoing the Clean Power Plan and America’s leadership on climate action. Finally, despite promising to “unleash the energy revolution,” Jeb leaves out the actual energy revolution: clean energy.
Simply put, Jeb Bush’s energy plan won’t drive us toward a 21st century economy. Here’s why:
It overheats: Jeb’s plan fails to even address man-made climate change
Jeb’s been hazy at best when it comes to his stance on climate change. Earlier this spring Bush said he is “concerned” about climate change, but a month later he sang a different tune saying, “For the people to say the science is decided on this is really arrogant, to be honest with you.”
As the former Governor of Florida, one would hope Bush knows about the consequences of ignoring climate change. The Southeastern United States, and Florida in particular, are especially vulnerable to the effects of climate change, from sea level rise to extreme heat events to hurricanes. In South Florida the streets already flood on some sunny days at high tide and climate change promises to make that flooding more severe. In addition to its environmental costs, climate change poses a huge economic threat to the country and to Florida specifically. Flooding from sea-level rise is expected to cost the state up to $15 billion by 2030 and up to $23 billion by 2050. Florida alone has a trillion-dollar real-estate bubble waiting to burst as a result of sea level rise or the next superstorm surge. And Florida isn’t alone in its vulnerability to climate change, the total annual price tag for hurricanes and other coastal storms is estimated to be up to $35 billion.
It spews exhaust: Jeb’s plan doesn’t mention anything about clean energy
The first sentence of Jeb Bush’s energy plan references economic growth. Indeed, the promise of 4 percent economic growth has been a centerpiece of his whole campaign. But the energy plan Bush put forward, shockingly, makes no mention of the fastest growing sector of the industry: renewable energy. In fact, half the new electricity generation in the United States comes from renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, and hydro. Solar energy on its own accounted for one out of every 78 new jobs created last year in entire United States economy, beating out oil both gas pipeline construction and crude oil and natural gas extraction.
Jeb can’t be ignoring clean energy because it hurts the economy. Is he ignoring it because he thinks it’s bad politics? That doesn’t make any sense either, as a national poll released yesterday by conservative foundation ClearPath demonstrates: more than three-quarters of Republican voters believe that accelerating the growth of clean energy would “create economic growth and jobs at home.”
It stalls out: Jeb’s plan would undo key public health standards
Not only does Jeb’s plan not address actions to address the warming climate, his proposal would actually take steps backward with its short-sighted focus. Three of the four points included in Jeb’s plan lift important public health standards put in place to protect Americans against the negative health and economic impacts of climate change.
One of those points is the elimination of the Clean Power Plan, a move that could lead to thousands of premature deaths and forfeit the Clean Power Plan’s estimated health and climate benefits worth up to $54 billion a year in 2030. Bush also argued that the Clean Power Plan will increase electricity costs, ignoring the fact that the cost of climate change is widely expected to be more than the cost of clean energy. In his arguments against federal legislation on climate change, Jeb has expressed concern for our “ability to compete in an increasingly competitive world.” But it was the Obama administration’s strong leadership with the Clean Power Plan that inspired China to establish its own aggressive steps to limit carbon pollution.
BOTTOM LINE: Jeb!’s energy plan fails to address man-made climate change, forgets to mention clean energy, and discards key public health standards, begging the question: is this the energy plan you want to drive you into the future?
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