Rubio answered that he was in favor of clean air and water but offered “here’s what I don’t support,” when voicing his opposition to EPA regulations. Rubio also came out in support of drilling for natural gas nationally and called it a “very clean fuel,” as well as expressed interest in other renewable sources of fuel. He ended the answer by saying, “it has to be driven by markets, and it has to driven by innovation, not by government mandates that pick winners and losers.”
The questioner was identified as Dan Herrera, who is a college student at Augustana College just across the Mississippi River and member of the Augustana College Republicans. Thought to be a plant by some, the group he belongs to is actually committed “to promoting the ideals and candidates of their party.”
Herrera said he was satisfied with his answer in an interview after the event, even though Rubio did not provide many specifics. When asked about the answer Herrera was most impressed with he replied, “the fact that he didn’t just shut it down and immediately say ‘we’re not going to do anything,’ that spoke volumes to me coming from a Republican standpoint.”
Herrera went on to say, “We all live here. I don’t like waking up every morning knowing that I’m wrapping my hands around my nieces’ and nephews’ necks, choking them out with the exhaust that I’m emitting. … I want them to see the same things that I see when I go outside when they’re my age. And I think that in the current pathway we’re at, that’s not going to be a possibility.”
“The amount of permanent jobs we can come up with in the clean energy industry is phenomenal. When I go to a wind farm,” he continued, “I see actual people working on [turbines] and talk to the designers — I see actual jobs out there. And I think that’s where the Republican solution comes in. It is very possible to stimulate the economy while continuing to produce jobs.”
A quick trip to Rubio’s official site shows his energy policy as thus:
He wants to eliminate “government-imposed barriers to energy production and economic growth” as well as eliminating the ban on exporting U.S. oil imposed back in the Nixon term which he believes would boost jobs, increase wages, and reduce energy prices. He is also for ending subsidies for favored companies, removing overblown environmental regulations, and to entrust America’s energy future to businesses and scientists, not bureaucrats.
Energy and climate change continue to remain a topic of discussion for all political candidates, and there are sure to be more questions in the area. To read Jeb Bush’s answer on energy policy, click here.