Mitt Romney Calls The EPA 'Out Of Control' For Wanting To Make Sure Our Drinking Water Is Safe

During the Mike Huckabee Republican Presidential Debate forum held on Fox this Saturday night, Mitt Romney was asked by moderator Scott Pruit whether heaven forbid his head of the EPA might not be that different from President Obama's choice to lead
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During the Mike Huckabee Republican Presidential Debate forum held on Fox this Saturday night, Mitt Romney was asked by moderator Scott Pruit whether heaven forbid his head of the EPA might not be that different from President Obama's choice to lead that agency.

Romney responded by throwing a whole lot of red meat to the GOP base with whether the federal government and the EPA ought to be allowed to regulate fracking on a national level and said it should be left to the states, because heaven forbid Romney might want to concern himself over whether fracking is polluting the drinking water around the country, as Pro Publica has documented here -- Fracking or on whether states are complying with the Clean Water Act with their fracking operations.

As Think Progress has also noted -- Bringing Fracking to the Surface: More Scrutiny Needed on Natural Gas Development -- there are a whole lot more concerns that need to be examined before we just allow these drilling operations to go on without more scrutiny.

I would assume Romney is more concerned about which of those companies are contributing to his political campaign.

Rough transcript below the fold from this Saturday's "forum."

PRUITT: Well Governor, you've traveled Oklahoma, you know that Oklahoma is a leader, in energy from oil and gas to coal to wind. So when energy CEO's tell me that your EPA, or your EPA administrator may not be much different than the president's now, what do you say to that?

ROMNEY: Well, they don't know what I would do if I were the president of the United States. You know, one of my good friends is Mike Leavitt who was the EPA administrator under George W. Bush and I've asked some of the oil and gas company executives, what was it like under Mike Leavitt and they said it was a whole lot better than it is today.

I think the EPA has gotten completely out of control for a very simple reason. It is a tool in the hands of the president to crush the private enterprise system, to crush our ability to have energy, whether it's oil, gas, coal, nuclear... there's a real effort on the part of some in the president's party that don't like the American enterprise system and are trying to find a way to do everything they can to impede the growth of our economy and our energy independence.

And I look at the effort on the EPA for instance to step in the way of fracking and eliminate the potential in some states to have our access to natural gas and to oil and say look, this is all an effort to just say let's go solar and wind and let's raise the cost of energy dramatically.

That's in my view, it's just entirely opposite of the view that we need to have a federal government that sees its job as helping the private sector grow and thrive and add jobs.

PRUITT: Well Governor, you've traveled Oklahoma, you know that Oklahoma is a leader, in energy from oil and gas to coal to wind. So when energy CEO's tell me that your EPA, or your EPA administrator may not be much different than the president's now, what do you say to that?

ROMNEY: Well, they don't know what I would do if I were the president of the United States. You know, one of my good friends is Mike Leavitt who was the EPA administrator under George W. Bush and I've asked some of the oil and gas company executives, what was it like under Mike Leavitt and they said it was a whole lot better than it is today.

I think the EPA has gotten completely out of control for a very simple reason. It is a tool in the hands of the president to crush the private enterprise system, to crush our ability to have energy, whether it's oil, gas, coal, nuclear... there's a real effort on the part of some in the president's party that don't like the American enterprise system and are trying to find a way to do everything they can to impede the growth of our economy and our energy independence.

And I look at the effort on the EPA for instance to step in the way of fracking and eliminate the potential in some states to have our access to natural gas and to oil and say look, this is all an effort to just say let's go solar and wind and let's raise the cost of energy dramatically.

That's in my view, it's just entirely opposite of the view that we need to have a federal government that sees its job as helping the private sector grow and thrive and add jobs.

PRUITT: Well Governor, you mentioned hydraulic fracturing and you know that that's revolutionary now with the natural gas industry as far as extracting natural gas. The states have promise in that area right now on the regulation standpoint. The current EPA administrator is marching toward having the federal government oversee the hydraulic fracturing. Would you put a stop to that?

ROMNEY: Absolutely. You hit the nail on the head. They, I think the EPA and those extreme voices in the environmental community and in the President's own party are just frustrated beyond belief that the states have the regulatory authority over fracking. And right now I guess it's something close to seventy percent of the oil wells in this country that have been tracked, so states have been managing this and managed it well.

But the EPA wants to be able to get in and grab more power and basically try and move the whole economy away from oil, gas, coal, nuclear and push it into the renewables.

Look, we all like the renewables. But renewables alone are not going to power this economy. And yeah, I would, among other things, I would get the EPA out of its effort to manage carbon dioxide emissions from automobiles and trucks.

Look, that was not a pollutant within the meeting of the legislation that authorized the EPA. It is of all the agencies in Washington, it is the one most being used by this President to try and hold down and crush and insert the federal government into the life of the private sector.

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