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Jeb Bush Praises Energy Potential in Quest for Economic Growth

The plan includes lifting bans on oil and natural gas exports, approval of Keystone XL, a reduction in regulation and increased deference to states.
Image: Jeb Bush
Republican presidential candidate former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush smiles during a press conference before he spoke at the East Cooper Republican Women's Club Annual Shrimp Dinner at Alhambra Hall in Mt. Pleasant, S.C., Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015. Mic Smith / AP

CANNONSBURG, Pennsylvania— Jeb Bush called for "embracing the energy revolution" as part of his plan to achieve four-percent economic growth when he unveiled his energy reform proposals Tuesday at an energy company outside of Pittsburgh.

“Praise Jesus!" Bush said of the potential of American capitalism. “I get fired up when I see examples like this cause this is what separates us from the rest of the world.”

Bush’s plan includes lifting bans on oil and natural gas exports, approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline, a reduction in regulation and increased deference to states wanting to exploit their own energy sectors.

During the remarks at Rice Energy, Bush celebrated the company for its work while pointing to recent booms in energy production as proof of the industry's economic potential by trickling increased and cheaper production throughout other industries.

“I’m sick and tired of people thinking that the Chinese are eating our lunch,” the candidate said of America's ability to compete.

Bush emphasized the need to eliminate barriers while also implementing infrastructure to achieve energy goals.

“As president I would approve the XL pipeline for crying out loud,” he said. “That is the lowest hanging fruit I’ve ever imagined.”

The former governor touted his record in Florida as proof that both energy and environmental concerns can be balanced without hindering economic growth through the energy sector.

“You can always find the proper balance between the environmental good, the environmental necessities and economic progress and that should be the objective of the next administration.”

A key to Bush’s plan is the undoing of the U.S. ban on oil exports, which he said would be key not just to economic growth but also to national security goals by establishing further economic links with global allies.

“It might have made sense then, I’m not sure it did, it makes no sense now,” he said of the ban.

In objection to Bush’s plan, the Sierra Club released a statement saying, “This plan promises voters the world, but the truth is that the world is exactly what it would sacrifice to fatten the wallets of dirty energy conglomerates.”

Bush previewed his plan earlier Tuesday with an online post, writing, “Taken together, these policies will fully unleash the Energy Revolution creating more jobs, higher wages, cheaper gas, and cheaper electricity while better protecting our interests abroad and our environment.”

This latest policy rollout follows his prescriptions earlier this month for tax and regulation reform - all part of what the governor refers to on the campaign trail as an aggregate approach to increased economic growth.

Bush heads to New Hampshire for events on Wednesday.