While Romney outlined a plan for energy independence that is heavy on fossil fuel extraction a few weeks ago, the Obama administration blueprint seems to rely on investment in clean sources of energy along with developing tighter standards for efficiency. Compare the two plans, and it appears Democrats have the edge on the environmental vote over Republicans in the 2012 election.

But it’s with good reason that President Obama has avoided the Keystone XL, a proposed pipeline by TransCanada Corporation that would carry fuel from the Athabasca tar sands in Alberta to refineries in Texas. While environmentalists won’t ditch Obama altogether for his positioning on Keystone, former Democratic National Committee chair Howard Dean said the administration’s plans to eventually push the pipeline forward would certainly raise the ire of activists around the country and create an unwanted distraction.

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