Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was outside a trucking company in New Mexico Thursday where he proclaimed if elected, he would be able to put us on pace for North American energy independence by 2020 through an increase in use and production of oil, natural gas and coal. This strategy is at odds with the president's energy approach that has brought increased regulation and reforms on the oil and gas industry, as well as worked to increase production from wind, solar, biomass, and hydropower energy production.

Romney and his supporters say the president's energy plans are not realistic, and that President Obama has vilified and handcuffed coal and oil producers under the environmental policies of this administration. As major coal producers call states like Ohio and Pennsylvania home, attacking the president on this issue could be politically advantageous for the Romney campaign, desperate to take the national discussion away from Todd Akin's remarks earlier in the week that have dominated the news cycle.

The "Real News From The Blaze" panel Thursday discussed the energy plans of Romney and President Obama, how major coal producing states will play a role in this presidential election, and whether the downturn in the coal industry over the last four years is a result of environmental policies or the free market.

One last thing…
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