Huckabee: Lift oil export ban, use renewables

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Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee says the United States needs to lift its ban on crude oil exports, encourage more energy production on federal lands and embrace renewable energy in order to "completely transform the balance of world power."

Huckabee detailed his energy platform on Monday, according to the Texas Tribune, telling a Houston audience that more domestic energy production is needed to reduce America's dependence on foreign sources.

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The former Arkansas governor said state and local governments should have more control over energy policy and that there should be more energy exploration on federal lands. He said he would lift the crude oil export ban and do more to encourage natural gas exports, arguing that American energy production is more climate-conscious than in other parts of the world. 

At the same time, Huckabee said people "shouldn't demonize renewable fuels" such as solar and wind power, which could be used to supplement current energy production.

"We need to be a country that looks at the world and realizes energy is the backbone of making this world function, and we start talking about what we can do rather than what we can't do," he said, according to the Tribune. 

Huckabee’s energy platform touches on a handful of local issues, both in Texas, where he was speaking and kicking off a fundraising tour, and Iowa, which hosts the country’s first presidential caucuses in January. 

State lawmakers in Texas have recently banned local ordinances against hydraulic fracturing after voters in the town of Denton approved a fracking moratorium last year. Huckabee said he would move "regulations back to the people closest to the industries” to give more local control over energy policy.

In Iowa, Republican presidential candidates have already faced questions over renewable energy sources. The state leads the country in wind energy and, critically, ethanol production. Some candidates have already said they oppose the government’s ethanol blending mandate, though Huckabee told an Iowa audience in March that he supports the standards.