Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney announced his running mate this weekend, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan. Romney supporters are thrilled with the candidate’s choice for vice president, particularly his background as Chairman of the House Budget Committee with a long-standing record of solid “fiscal disciple and accountability to the federal government.”
The announcement was not good news to one group, however: renewable energy advocates. Earlier in 2012, Ryan proposed a fiscal plan that promoted expanded oil and gas drilling, reigned in the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and ended Obama’s controversial clean energy loan program through the Energy Department.
Ryan has consistently been an outspoken critic of the president’s support for renewable energy while garnering praise within his party for his steadfast fiscal conservatism, aligning with the GOP’s budgetary agenda. The Romney campaign hopes that these qualities will strengthen the Republican ticket moving into the crunch time of the race.
It’s these same qualities that Obama supporters–environmentalists and renewable energy advocates chief among them–hope will have a negative impact on the Romney/Ryan bid. Key states for the election in the Midwest like Colorado and Iowa have invested heavily in wind and solar manufacturing in particular; Ryan’s plan to expand fossil fuels and neutralize the wind and solar industries might not be well received in those communities.
Navin Najak, senior VP for campaigns with the League of Conservation Voters told Politico, “In picking Paul Ryan, Gov. Romney really doubled down on his approach to favoring oil companies over clean energy.”
With his experience as the chairman of the Budget Committee, experts believe Ryan will make his argument to eliminate tax credits for renewable energy. This is already a key talking point of the campaign. Romney and like-minded Republican legislators argue that an industry that cannot stand on its own without large government subsidies should not be further encouraged and poses a danger to the taxpayers.