GOLDEN, CO – Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich made his first appearances in Colorado on Monday, just one day before the state’s Republican voters headed to their precinct caucuses to vote in a Presidential preference poll and select fellow party members who will eventually comprise the 36 delegates and 33 alternates to the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida in late August.
Gingrich spent the day in Golden, Colorado, beginning with a morning rally and followed by a speech centered on energy policy at the 2012 Colorado Election Energy Summit held at the Colorado School of Mines.
Gingrich came out swinging at President Barack Obama’s energy policies.
“This is the most anti-American energy administration you’ve ever had,” said Gingrich, drawing applause. He pointed to urban policy makers out-of-touch with the energy concerns of the majority of Americans, citing the cost of fuel and the impact it has on consumable goods like groceries.
“You have an administration whose policies are wrong on national security grounds, they’re wrong on American job-creating grounds, and they’re wrong on cost of living grounds,” Gingrich argued.
Gingrich’s proposal to become independent enough from the Middle East energy supply chain that “we don’t care what they do,” referring to national security concerns about government behavior in the region, was well received. “One measure is to ensure that no American president ever again bows to a Saudi king,” said Gingrich.
“How do we do that?” Gingrich asked. “We fundamentally replace whole bureaucracies. I am for the Environmental Protection Agency and replacing it with a brand new environmental solutions agency, and brand new people,” he answered, noting that the litmus test for new employees would simply be “common sense.”
The new agency would be required to consider economic impacts and work collaboratively with state and local governments, instead of imposing rules hierarchically, according to Gingrich.
Over a wide-ranging speech that last more than thirty minutes including questions from a panel and audience members, Gingrich held forth on a number of issues, including the Department of Interior’s handling of the BP Gulf Oil spill in 2010, oil and gas exploration, and electricity prices.
Gingrich touted his commitment to solving energy and national security interests as soon as his inauguration was complete. “On the very first day, I will sign an executive order allowing construction of the Keystone pipeline so that Canada can have an American partner on January 20, not a Chinese partner,” said Gingrich.
Gingrich also supports using executive orders to open federal lands for oil and gas and mineral exploration, citing the federal government control of the majority of the land in a state like Nevada, and the availability of resources in states like Alaska.
Further exploration in many western states in just the past decade has revealed vast, untapped oil and gas and mineral resources currently off-limits due to environmental regulation and policy obstruction, Gingrich lamented. He rejected theories of so-called “peak oil,” calling them “terms used by the Left to justify telling the rest of us we have to have austerity, so they can control our lives. I want to unleash the American people.”
“I’m for an all-source system of energy,” he concluded.
Taken together, Gingrich feels that his policy positions alone will deliver an immediate economic turnaround if he is elected in November.
“You want to know when the economy will start recovering? About nine o’clock at night on election day, when people figure out that he [Obama] is gone,” Gingrich quipped, eliciting the loudest applause of the afternoon.
Fellow GOP presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum spoke later in the afternoon.
The event was co-sponsored by the Colorado Oil & Gas Association and the Colorado Farm Bureau.