By Ben Geman - 04/11/12 03:10 PM EDT
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has looked into President Obama’s heart and found his oft-stated commitment to an “all of the above” energy plan lacking.
“When Obama says 'all of the above,' it is something he knows he has to say politically. I don’t think it comes from his heart. It is words out of his mouth, not from his heart,” Graham told a South Carolina radio station.
“I think when Romney says 'all of the above' he really means it,” Graham said of Mitt Romney, the likely GOP presidential nominee, in the Tuesday afternoon interview with WVOC radio.
But many Republicans question the White House's commitment to oil and natural gas.
Graham called for an approach that includes building the Keystone XL pipeline and drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the Atlantic off the coast of southeastern states and more widely in the eastern Gulf of Mexico.
“If the president decided tomorrow that we would aggressively open up the continental shelf, ANWR and build the pipeline from Canada, you would see a dramatic drop in gas prices simply because of future supply,” Graham said of recent pain at the gasoline pump.
The Obama administration in January rejected a cross-border permit for the Keystone line that would bring Canadian oil sands to Gulf Coast refineries, but has invited developer TransCanada Corp. to reapply.
Obama opposes drilling in ANWR and the administration’s offshore leasing plans call for making more waters available in the western and central Gulf of Mexico and eventually off Alaska’s coast, while keeping the Atlantic and Pacific off limits through at least 2017.
The president, amid the recent run-up in gasoline prices, has taken pains to emphasize his support for domestic oil-and-gas production both onshore and off-, and noted the increase in total U.S. production in recent years. But he also cautions that the nation can’t solve its energy price and security problems with drilling alone.
But Republicans say the administration’s proposals for expanded development are far too modest and restrictive, and argue that Interior Department and EPA policies, such as upcoming regulations to govern the gas development method called hydraulic fracturing, will stymie production.
Graham, in the interview, spoke in favor of expanded natural gas drilling, nuclear power, wind and solar, hybrid vehicles and “cleaner” coal.
Ultimately, he said, the goal should be to turn away from fossil fuels, but he called that a long-term project. “The more fossil fuel we use, the more dangerous it is for us as a nation,” Graham said. “Wouldn’t you love to be able to go to the Mideast one day and say, ‘We’d like to help you, but we don’t need your oil'?”