Politics

Rubio Sets Forth Energy Policy During Stop in Salem

SALEM, Ohio – As he stood beneath a 15-ton crane on the manufacturing floor of BOC Water Hydraulics, it became obvious why Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio had chosen Salem to unveil his energy policy.

The future of American energy, he said, lies with oil and natural gas, not solar and wind power. And areas like Columbiana County where shale drilling is happening – coupled with companies like BOC manufacturing parts for those projects – is where innovation and economic boosts will come from, he said.

Before a standing-room-only crowd of nearly 250, Rubio laid out the three priorities for his energy policy: minimize bureaucracy, maximize private innovation and optimize the available energy resources.

“The $100 billion of natural gas and the $550 billion of oil beneath our feet are doing more to help the people of Ohio and doing no good pent up in shale rock,” Rubio said. “Yet Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are arguing that it’s more important for us to stabilize and subsidize wind turbines and solar panels than to expand our extraordinary reserves.”

Criticizing Obama’s plan to get 20% of the nation’s energy from renewable resources by 2030, Rubio pointed to the investment across the state from the shale industry – about $18 billion – as what helped pull the region back after Black Monday and the decline of the steel industry decades ago.

“With American innovation, the future could very well be bright for renewables, but that’s up to our people. We let the economic market pick winners and losers, not Washington and not Washington bureaucrats,” he said. “Energy and the energy revolution have transformed this economy. … Was it because the government created a new agency? No. It’s because Americans did what Americans do – they endured and adapted and innovated and rebuilt.”

Rubio’s energy policy also called for opening the continental shelf for offshore oil drilling, extraditing the export of natural gas and, on his first day in office, approving the proposed Keystone XL pipeline that would run from Alberta, Canada to Steele City, Neb.

The Florida senator pointed to Obama issuing “nearly 30,000 pages of new regulations” since he’s taken office as evidence of the over-regulatory environment that small-business owners face, especially those in the energy industry.

“Small businesses have to know each and every one of those regulations,” he said, noting that many regulations often have costs associated with them.

Rubio said he spoke with Tom Mackall, president of East Fairfield Coal in North Lima, earlier Friday.

“Tom told me of a recent regulation that will make him spend $100,000 on a new dust monitoring device and another that will require the purchase of $1 million-worth of proximity detection sensor for his machines,” Rubio said during his speech. “Businesses simply can’t afford this.”

As an alternative, Rubio said he’d create a regulatory framework that would “limit the amount of new rules and costs to the private sector.” He said that would immediately stop the Clean Power Plan – which aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, mostly from power plants, by 32% by 2030 – and simplify the oil and gas drilling permitting process.

“If our bureaucrats were half as efficient at approving development plans as they were at approving new rules, our economy would be much stronger than it is today,” Rubio said.

Rubio promised to make the United States “the most business-friendly economy on the planet” by reforming the tax code, including a plan to lower rates up to 100% for companies investing in “growth and innovation.”

He promised to increase training opportunities for workers in the energy sector by forming partnerships between trade unions, vocational schools and high schools. Rubio referenced the work done by Boardman-based Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 396 in worker with Mahoning County Career and Technical Center, Trumbull Career and Technical Center and several high schools to provide education on possible careers in the field.

Energy research coming from federally funded laboratories, he continued, is often valuable but is hard to access and implement. As president, Rubio said, he would “cut the red tape for public and private partnerships.”

Before his speech, Rubio toured BOC and heard the company’s CEO, Todd Olson, explain what his company does and the challenges it faces, including the need for educated workers.

“I’m greatly encouraged by Sen. Rubio and the focus he has for our international trade concerns and his knowledge ofn the playing field and how things work in the real world. It’s pure passion to keep the American dream alive,” Olson said as he introduced Rubio to the crowd.

Olson heard Rubio’s energy policy for the first time along with everyone else on his manufacturing floor, including the national press.

“He sees the value of having a strong energy economy in this country. We’re 100% in agreement on that,” Olson said. “We’re buried down in the supply chain. When [the companies we supply] aren’t producing and making money, we’re not seeing any order flow. We’re all interdependent on each other, so we clearly benefit from a strong energy policy.”

Butch Taylor, business manager for the Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 396, came away from the speech impressed by Rubio’s plans to increase the accessibility of industrial training.

“It was pleasing to listen to because he wants to focus on opening up those markets within the energy industry that provide jobs for us,” Taylor said. “He referenced the apprenticeship program and the building trades as opportunities for his plans of what he wants for the future.”

Speaking just before Olson, Ohio treasurer Josh Mandel – also chairman of Rubio’s Ohio campaign – explained why he has endorsed the senator.

“He’s tapped into a different demographic, tapped into Ohio and Americans who are a little cynical and disappointed about how things are going in Washington,” Mandel said. “They want to feel optimistic about the future and they see in Marco, not only someone who will lead an American renaissance when it comes to manufacturing and energy, but also do it in a way that can make us proud.”

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“3 Minutes With” Marco Rubio

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.