Even though Newt Gingrich has yet to launch an exploratory committee into a 2012 presidential run, it's safe to say he's well on his way.
Politico reports the former Speaker of the House and Georgia congressman dropped by the Renewable Fuels Summit in Iowa, a mandatory stop for anyone considering a White House run. Gingrich asked the crowd, hey, why don't we just abolish the Environmental Protection Agency and replace it with the creepy-sounding "Environmental Solutions Agency?"
The replacement agency “would encourage innovation, incentivize success and emphasize sound science and new technology over bureaucracy, regulation, litigation and restrictions on American energy,” according to materials provided by Gingrich aide Rick Tyler.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Gingrich likened the proposed agency to the National Institutes of Health, which helps researchers discover new treatments for diseases and illnesses, among other things. He denied it'd cause any environmental damage — although you have to admit, striking the word "protection" from its title isn't too reassuring.
According to a blog about the domestic fuel industry (who knew!), Gingrich was a hit. (Audio of his speech is posted there.) And in a move that was surely aimed at wowing his Iowa audience, Gingrich criticized those who frown on the idea of making fuel from corn, which is used in everything from food processing to feeding livestock.
Gingrich says he is for all types of energy — oil, natural gas, nuclear, wind, solar, renewable fuels and coal — but he thinks food versus fuel is a farce. “The people who talk about food versus fuel are just plain flat wrong,” he said. He said if anyone is to blame for any food shortages, it is the European opposition to using genetically engineered crops.
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