Herman Cain is bad for clean energy

Herman Cain is gaining popularity in the Republican race for the presidential nomination.  I like some of his thoughts, but he couldn't be more wrong when it comes to topics related to energy.  I mentioned this on my post "How we can pay less for gas" when I referenced an email he sent to supporters in which he stated:

So why are we not on a path to energy independence? It’s simply because of too many regulations that slow down the process and discourage businesses to invest. Illogical moratoriums, excessive federal regulations and environmental extremists who influence weak legislators are holding America hostage to foreign oil.

According to Herman, the only reason we aren't on energy independence is because of regulation!  Really?  Is he positive that we could be energy independent if we just drilled our way out of the problem?  Why does he not mention anything about conservation or clean energy?

I actually traded some emails in the Spring with his communications director (who was very nice) and I stated:

"Since Mr. Cain's energy plan seems only to include more drilling in ANWR and offshore, I'm assuming his staff has done all the necessary analysis in seeing how all of this increased oil drilling will make us energy independent.  In fact, Herman states:

'Energy independence is within our grasp because we have plenty of energy natural resources. We have billions of barrels of oil, plenty of natural gas reserves, more coal than any other country in the world, lots of places we could build dams for hydroelectricity and some of the safest nuclear power technology in the world.'

So correct me if I'm wrong, but Herman seems to be implying that we can become energy independent just by increasing drilling for oil.

Where is the technical analysis to back this up?

I believe that we do need to drill more in the U.S., but we also need to have a plan that addresses conservation as well.  This is an issue that needs to be attacked on both the supply and the demand side.  Mr. Cain only seems to be focused on the supply."

Her response was that Mr. Cain believes that the free market will solve all energy problems.  My reply to that:

"I too am a free market advocate...but the problem with fossil fuel energy is that externalities are never taken into account in its cost.

For instance, the reason coal is so cheap to use for energy is that the externalities associated with the production of coal (mainly hazardous air emissions) aren't taken into account.  Ditto for pollution from transportation.  Pollution is a cost burden to society, but those who burn fossil fuel don't carry the burden, it is passed on to society.
I live in Atlanta and I can witness the smog we have.  A large component of this smog is from fossil fuel emissions.  The free market does not account for the production of smog, and surely you know how damaging smog can be to kids with asthma.  The cost of the effects of this smog is passed on to the parents of these children with asthma.
Would Herman agree that the negative externalities associated with the production and consumption of fossil fuel energy should be accounted for in the price of those fossil fuels?"

But I never got an answer....

I'm making two arguments here:

1) It would be almost impossible for the U.S. to be energy independent solely by lifting regulation on the oil industry
2) Externalities need to be accounted for in the cost of fossil fuels.

The 2nd point is more of an ideological point and is up for debate.  The 1st point is based on science and engineering.  What engineering studies can Herman reference to back up his outrageous claims?  I've been accused of acting like a know-it-all, and I'm certainly guilty of making outrageous claims myself, but is it possible that I know more about energy policy than the potential Republican candidate for President of the United States of America?  Please help me think through this issue!


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