FORT LUPTON—Set against a clear blue sky and fields of winter wheat, presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney laid out his energy policy: “all of the above”—and below—ground.
Joined by K.P. Kauffman CEO Kevin P. Kauffman and dozens of employees of the independent oil and gas company, Romney spoke to hundreds of Colorado supporters, flanked by a pump jack common to Weld County as well as other development equipment.
“I think a lot of people have the idea that oil and gas are all managed by these great, big companies in Texas. But, actually, oil and gas is also a business for relatively small businesses,” said Romney.
K.P. Kauffman employs approximately 200 people.
Romney took aim at the jobs policies of President Barack Obama’s administration, citing a number of statistics he believed showed a failure in the Democrat’s self-designated benchmarks. In particular, he pointed to a falling unemployment rate not caused by job creation, but withdrawal from the job market, and what he described as a failed stimulus plan.
“There was one area where the president was able to fulfill his promise, and that was, he wanted to get energy prices higher,” Romney said.
Romney singled out “green energy” jobs and the Obama administration’s efforts to invest the taxpayers’ dollars in companies like Fisker and the now infamous Solyndra.
Real growth in the energy sector, Romney said, was occurring in places like Fort Lupton, and the rich oil and gas fields that bring jobs to the local economy.
“Now the president tries to take credit for the fact that oil production is up. I like to take credit for the fact that when I was Governor, the Red Sox won the World Series,” said Romney. “Neither one of those would be the case.”
Romney praised private energy production, which he believes has provided some relief from the regulatory and policy squeeze being put on by the Obama administration.
Those policies lead to higher costs and less money for families, Romney said.
“We have energy resources in this country, and we have to take advantage of them,” Romney insisted.
“The high cost of energy is putting a bigger and bigger squeeze on middle income families in this country,” said the Republican candidate.
“People are having tough times.”
Romney touched on wind and solar energy,
“I like wind and solar. The president says he likes ‘all of the above.’ I’m trying to figure out what he means by that,” Romney asked.
“He’s not helping oil. He’s not helping gas. He’s not helping coal. Then I figured it out: he only likes the sources of energy that come from above the ground, not the ones from below the ground like oil, gas, and coal,” Romney said.
“If I’m president, I can tell you, I’m going to be committed to all the energy, whether it comes above the ground or below the ground,” declared Romney.
Energy independence, through an expansion of domestic exploration and production and the responsible use of oil and gas, would be the most “cost effective component” of a “domestic energy equation” that also includes wind and solar energy, Kauffman argued.
Romney believes that technological developments in the energy industry have opened vast resources previously undiscovered or deemed inaccessible. Obama’s policies exacerbate the problem, Romney argues, as federal lands are closed to development and exploration is postponed.
On the subject of one of the hottest topics in the energy policy discussion, and the source of much contention in Colorado, Romney disagreed with any plan that placed regulatory oversight of fracking at the federal level.
“I want fracking to be regulated at the state level, like it has been for the last fifty years,” Romney said.
Romney also vowed to overturn “Obamacare,” cut and cap federal spending, balance the budget, and decrease tax rates.
“If you tax small business more and more, it’s harder for small businesses to grow and add jobs,” said Romney. Raising the rate “will kill jobs.”
“Nearly thirty years ago, I started my business with $100 on the kitchen table, an idea, and a dream, and the support of my loving wife,” Kauffman said. The risk of starting a business, Kauffman said, was offset by the promise of opportunity.
Standing over the decades-old Sussex formation, Kauffman estimated that a billion barrels of oil remain in place, with 50 million barrels already produced. The resource is located roughly a mile below ground, and the development of horizontal drilling techniques has opened up more resource recoverability, Kauffman said.
In a lighter moment, Romney recalled Obama’s nomination, surrounded by Greek columns at then-Invesco Field at Mile High.
“I don’t think he’ll be surrounding himself by Greek columns the next time he is here,” Romney quipped.
“He won’t want to remind people of Greece and the trouble they’re in.”