World Energy Blog

Jeb Bush, staunch conservative or fair weather friend?

6/22/2015 11:32:34 AM

Jeb Bush, brother of George W., is running for the republican nomination for president, for those of us living under a rock.  The Bush family has become somewhat of a political dynasty unto itself of late, with two Presidents, two governors, and younger ones taking political office along the way.

In one March 2000 email, he listed “maintaining Florida’s position against offshore drilling” as No. 2 on his roster of environmental accomplishments, ahead of even his multibillion-dollar efforts to restore the Everglades. In September 2001, he wrote: “I have stated my opposition over and over and over again. I will continue to do so.”

So what does this say for a man who now professes a love for all things energy?  Well, we cannot really be sure.  

Jeb Bush supports the XL pipeline, a good stance to have and one that is relatively safe.  It is hard to argue against a project that has been able to pass every level of scrutiny except that of President Obama.  The pipeline has been looked at by just about every federal agency and consultancy out there and is probably the best vetted pipeline in the country.

He has also vocalized support for “rational rules on fracking”, but he has not really defined what that means.  However, when up against a democrat front-runner who has no support for fracking I would say he wins.  Additionally, in Colorado he expressed support for exporting crude from the United States and expressed that as a country we need to lead on energy.

Jeb has also made some noise about limiting federal subsidies for wind projects.  I’m not sure where that puts us either.  I like the idea of letting the market decide and limiting the role of government in picking winners and losers on the energy source agenda.  Especially, where the technology has had plenty of support for many years and should be able to stand on its own, or be left behind as a tried and failed alternative. (Think hydrogen cars)

Currently, Jeb Bush is not professing a belief in the idea that Climate Change is caused by our industrial age, but he isn’t specifically ruling it out either.  He makes comments like the science isn’t decided, which is true, but does his lack of support really mean that the voter base isn’t ready for it yet?

Jeb has also expressed that we need a North American strategy toward energy, favoring a triumvirate that includes Canada and Mexico in a partnership.  In theory this sounds like a good idea, working with our neighbors to the North and the South is an excellent way to guarantee energy security, unless it comes with other less popular policies, like immigration reform.

On the surface Jeb Bush is pushing energy policies that appeal to the base.  Similar to the way he appealed to his base as Governor of Florida, the question is will he implement those policies or be a fair weather friend and move onto the “higher” cause after election.