Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush said Wednesday that if elected in 2016, he would cut subsidies for both fossil fuels and renewable energy.
In a video sent to The Huffington Post, an environmental activist with the group 350 Action asked Bush at a campaign event in Manchester, New Hampshire, if he would eliminate fossil fuel subsidies as president. The former Florida governor responded that he wants to eliminate "all of it."
"I think we should phase out, through tax reform, the tax credits for wind, for solar, for the oil and gas sector, for all that stuff," Bush said.
Bush added that he supports cutting all subsidies to allow the market to determine which energy sources work best for the country.
"I don't think we should pick winners and losers," Bush said. "I think tax reform ought to be to lower the rate as far as we can and eliminate as many of the subsidies, all of the things that impede the ability in a more dynamic way to get where we need to get, which is low-cost energy that is respectful of the environment."
Bush did not describe exactly what he considers to be "subsidies," and a campaign spokeswoman declined to elaborate on his position on the record. Some define subsidies as merely tax credits, while others include a broader range of incentives and exemptions that benefit energy sources.
The solar and wind energy industries have used temporary tax credits to compete with oil and gas. The wind power tax credit expired at the end of 2014, but was included in a tax break package that passed through the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday. The solar power tax credit is scheduled to expire in 2016. President Barack Obama has repeatedly called to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies during his presidency, but has not been able to do so through Congress.
Bush said last month that he believes in climate change, but does not know what is causing it.
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