Energy & the Environment

Energy and the environment have been an issue brought to the forefront of American politics over the past 15-20 years. The concerns range from the rise of gas prices to the pollution of our air and waterways. Many proposals have been presented on the federal and state levels. Even local municipalities have gotten involved. The proposals have ranged from opening up federal land for oil production to subsidizing green energy to rejecting the Keystone XL oil pipeline over environmental concerns.

With America’s dependence on foreign production, many advocates have proposed opening federal land to oil production along with approval for offshore drilling to help bring costs down. Opponents to this proposal cite environmental concerns and point to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

On the flip side, many environmental activists have proposed that the United States subsidize green energy projects such as solar and wind to cut down on pollution. Opponents point to the crony capitalism of companies like Solyndra and government forcing a market that is not ready or affordable.

Along with the fight over energy, there is a battle over the environment and regulations. Proponents of regulating environmental issues point to the BP oil spill and the water disaster in Flint, Michigan. Opponents of regulations believe in free-market environmentalism and empowering property owners, giving them more property rights to set their own standards on pollution instead of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Oil Production in the United States

Point

With America's dependence on foreign production, many advocates have proposed opening federal land to oil production along with approval for offshore drilling to help bring costs down. Proponents believe that producing oil at home will provide more jobs and permanently keep the cost of gas down.

Counter

Opponents to oil production in the United States cite environmental concerns and point to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico as reason to cease production. Many environmental advocates say that the United States has a dependence on oil and that the country should focus on green energy which has minimal environmental impact.

Green Energy Subsidies

Point

Many environmental activists have proposed that the United States subsidize green energy projects such as solar and wind to cut down on pollution. They point to oil spills and other factory pollution as problems and believe that solar, wind, and electric should be the future of energy.

Counter

Opponents point to the crony capitalism of companies like Solyndra which was investigated by the FBI and the United States Treasury regarding government loans to produce solar panels. Opponents also point to the high cost and lack of energy production by solar, wind, and electric. While some support the idea of diversifying energy sources, many believe that the market is not ready for green energy and would be extremely expensive.

Environmental Regulations

Point

Proponents of regulating environmental issues point to the BP oil spill and the water disaster in Flint, Michigan as a need for more regulation. They believe that manmade pollution is a market failure that needs to be resolved by the government. Regulation proposals include a carbon tax, increasing the scope of federally controlled land, and creating stricter pollution standards.

Counter

Opponents of regulations believe in free-market environmentalism and empowering property owners, giving them more property rights to set their own standards on pollution instead of the Environmental Protection Agency. They believe that the EPA allows companies to pollute other citizens' land up to a certain amount, not giving the property owners to set their own standards. Opponents also believe that government has created too many problems running city water and sewer that have led to problems seen in Flint, Michigan. There have been proposals to privatize city water and sewer to cut down on government inefficiencies.