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GOP energy platform: Easier permitting, level playing field, no EPA CO2 regs

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GOP energy platform: Easier permitting, level playing field, no EPA CO2 regs

TheRepublican policy platform for the 2016 elections includes calls to speed uppermitting for energy projects, support all forms of energy "that aremarketable in a free economy without subsidies," and block the U.S. EPAfrom regulating carbon dioxide emissions.

The platform underscores the party's resistance to manyObama administration energy and environmental regulations and echoed presumedGOP presidential nominee Donald Trump's energy , including approving 's proposedKeystone XL pipeline. The document, released late on July 18 at the start ofthe Republican National Convention in Cleveland, blasted the Democratic Party'senergy policies, which Republicans said would hinder domestic energyproduction, cost jobs and raise energy costs for low-income Americans.

"Together, the people of America's energy sectorprovide us with power that is clean, affordable, secure, and abundant," theplatform said. "Their work can guarantee the nation's energy security forcenturies to come if, instead of erecting roadblocks, government facilitatesthe creation of an all-of-the-above energy strategy."

Much of the platform focused on permitting and access tofederal lands for energy projection. The GOP said it supported "expeditedsiting processes" and "thoughtful expansion" of the electricgrid and accused Democrats of using the permitting process to stymie new energyprojects.

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The platform held up the Keystone XL pipeline project, whichthe Obama administration rejected in November 2015 over environmental concerns,as "a symbol ofeverything wrong with the currentadministration's ideological approach." Republicans vowed to "finishthat pipeline and others" in an effort to bolster North American energysecurity. The party called for opening public lands and the outer continentalshelf to exploration and production and blasted efforts by some Democrats to close off federal lands tofuture energy leases.

TheGOP said it supported all forms of energy that are competitive without"subsidies," including coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear power andhydroelectric generation, and encouraged development of renewable resources"by private capital" rather than federal tax credits.

Theplatform did not include specific clean energy targets, unlike the DemocraticParty's latest draft platform, which promises to have half the country'selectricity come from clean sources within a decade and for the U.S. to runentirely on cleanenergy by 2050.

The party also took aim at the EPA, vowing to "doaway" with the Clean Power Plan, which seeks to limit CO2 emissions fromexisting power plants, and block implementation of the Clean Water Ruledefining which waters are federally protected. More broadly, the GOP said itwould forbid the EPA from regulating carbon dioxide altogether, "somethingnever envisioned when Congress passed the Clean Air Act," and reform theagency as an "independent bipartisan commission" while transitioningmore environmental regulatory authority to the states.

The platform also touched on management of federal lands.The document called for Congress to pass legislation to transfer certainfederally controlled public lands to states. The GOP also sought limits onEndangered Species Act designations, saying the law should not apply to graywolves and other species that exist "in healthy numbers in another state or country."

Inaddition, the platform opposed the listing of the lesser prairie chicken andthe potential listing of the sage grouse because "neither species has beenshown to be in actual danger and the listings threaten to devastate farmers,ranchers, and oil and gas production."

The platform is not authorized by any candidate but matchesTrump's energy plan in many ways, including the elimination of several Obamaadministration rules and policies and the promotion of more bilateral ormultilateral trade deals with other countries. The Republican Party willofficially nominate Trump on the evening of July 19 at the Republican NationalConvention.

The GOP's energy platform diverges in many ways from theDemocratic Party's draft platform, which will not be finalized until thatparty's convention starting July 25 in Philadelphia. Along with firm targetsfor clean energy's share of generation, Democrats are backing the Clean PowerPlan and support the rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline, similar toproposals from likely Democratic presidential nominee .