Discussion on energy policy was prominent during Tuesday night's presidential debate, featuring some of the most tense moments of the evening including this early heated exchange on the issue of cuts to permits for drilling on federal land and waters:
Texas Republican Rep. Bill Flores, who before being elected to Congress in 2010 was CEO of several successful energy companies, spoke to TheBlaze about Romney's energy policy on the eve of the debate.During the interview with Senior Contributor Mallory Factor, Flores also discussed how he sees the energy challenges we face as a countryand other major legislation during his first term which he voted on-- as well votes he wishes he had the opportunity to cast.
"You can call me a green oil and gas guy if you'd like," Flores told Factor in regards to his support for an 'all-of-the-above' strategy that looks to support and cultivate energy production from oil and fossil fuels as well as alternatives like solar and biofuels.
From TheBlaze's New York City newsroom, the Texas Congressman and member of Mitt Romney's energy team explained that the Republican presidential candidate has a holistic view on energy policy, that looks to feature a regulatory structure for an 'all-of-the-above energy' portfolio that does not penalize producers through inappropriate taxation. Despite his background in Texas's oil and gas industry, Flores told Factor that we need to also encourage nuclear and solar polar production.
"There also needs to be a footprint for alternatives," Flores tells Factor. "Whether it's biofuels, whether it's solar, whether it's wind--but those things have to stand on their own economically. We shouldn't be subsidizing suboptimum solutions."
Flores explains that this is a different approach than the Obama administration because it does not include $90 billion of taxpayer money for programs supporting companies not ready for primetime--like Solyndra. Flores wants the government to encourage all energy production and provide some basic funding for energy research, but remove obstructive regulations and support programs in the private energy sector.
"In other words if it's not ready yet, we shouldn't start it?" asked Factor.
"That's correct, Solyndra is a perfect example" said Flores.
Flores went on to say that approving the Keystone pipeline would be the most positive impact on energy policy a Romney administration could do in near term.
As a freshman congressman who took office by beating a veteran Democratic incumbent, Flores explained that while the House has voted over 30 times to repeal all or parts of Obamacare over the last term, Republicans don't have a willing Senate to work with them. The Congressman said that there are portions of Obamacare regarding preexisting conditions and coverage for college-age Americans that he likes, but believes they are issues that should be handled at a state level.
"The federal government under our Constitution has no authority to look at health care," said Flores.
When asked what he would pick if he could have one piece of legislation passed today in Congress, the Texas Congressman chose the Balanced Budget Amendment.
Watch the interview below: