OREANDA-NEWS. Republican presidential hopeful Marco Rubio said today he would allow states to regulate oil and gas production within their borders, rewrite President Barack Obama's "flawed" five-year offshore leasing program and immediately lift federal restrictions on US crude exports.

Laying out his plan for altering the US' energy strategy, the Florida senator called for expanding US oil, gas and coal production and halting the US Environmental Protection Agency's efforts to curb greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

"Washington is on a crusade to stifle American energy production with a litany of new rules and regulations," the plan said.

Under Rubio's proposal, states and tribes would have primary responsibility for overseeing oil and gas activity within their borders. "Federal bureaucrats routinely undermine effective state regulatory programs," the plan said.

Rubio's plan calls for stopping the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) "costly, misguided and illegal" efforts to regulate hydraulic fracturing on federal lands. A federal judge last month blocked the agency from enforcing new fracturing rules.

Rubio also wants to replace the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management's offshore leasing plan with a new program that "increases access and promptly updates our assessments of offshore resources." While the Rubio plan is not specific, it presumably is referring to the plan that runs from July 2017-June 2022.

Rubio also vowed if elected to remove the limitations on exports of US-produced crude, calling the restrictions "a perfect example of how outdated Washington has become." The Republican-controlled House of Representatives on 9 October approved a bill sponsored by representative Joe Barton (R-Texas) to repeal the restrictions. But the fates of similar measures in the Senate are uncertain, and Obama has vowed to veto the Barton bill if it were to reach his desk.

"Lifting the crude ban will help break the stranglehold of Opec, lower gasoline prices, create jobs and boost the economy," Rubio said.

Rubio also promised to immediately approve construction of Canadian midstream company Transcanada's proposed 830,000 b/d Keystone XL crude pipeline, which would transport crude from Canada's oil sands and the Bakken formation to the US midcontinent.

His plan calls for expediting natural gas exports. And Rubio said that, if elected, he would push to conclude trans-Atlantic trade talks that would allow for US energy exports to Europe.

Pointing to Obama's Clean Power Plan to regulate emissions from power plants, Rubio promised to create a national regulatory budget to limit the power of regulatory agencies to impose costly regulations. And he vowed to stop Obama's "massive, illegal mandate" to limit carbon emissions.

Rubio's energy plan was substantially more detailed than that of Republican rival Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida. Bush last month likewise called for called for lifting restrictions on oil and gas exports and for approving Keystone XL. Bush also argued that rules and permitting practices that "unnecessarily suppress domestic energy production and raise prices" need to be addressed.

Yesterday, fellow Republican contender and Ohio governor John Kasich rolled his own energy plan, calling for giving produces greater access to non-sensitive public lands, keeping fracturing regulations at the state level, allowing crude exports and approving the Keystone XL project.

Environmental groups quickly blasted Rubio's plan. The League of Conservation Voters said Rubio's plan would "accelerate climate change just to protect the profits of the big polluters that fund his campaign."

Billionaire environmental activist Tom Steyer pointed to a US bank Citigroup report estimating that climate change could cause $44 trillion worth of damage to the world economy. Rubio's "energy plan will not do anything about it," Steyer said.