Sunday, February 10, 2008

Energy Bill Chaos

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Late last year, Congress passed the latest energy bill packed full of nice little goodies like subsidies for ethanol producers and an increase in the fuel efficiency standards for vehicles. All of these are nothing but feel good measures enacted for no other reason than to gain votes. It's a sham being perpetrated upon the country for shameful political purposes.

Bush should have stood up and said the following:

We need new sources of fuel as the political situation in the Mideast will continue to remain volatile. We see an ever increasing population that will require more fuel for more vehicles--not just in the US but in emerging Asian nations.

The United States must become more energy independent, not just in the area of fuels for vehicles but in fuel for power plants. With that in mind, I propose the following:

Increase fuel efficiency standards by 100% over the next 10-years and give the struggling auto industry tax incentives for new and improved engineering.

Research new sources of bio-fuel other than corn. Corn-based ethanol is not a solution to any problem due to the impacts on other sectors of the economy and the costs associated with distillation. I will propose to fund research into any and all other agricultural products and to establish whether or not their use as a fuel is viable. Ethanol has been shown to be at least as harmful to the environment as standard fuels are and unless a true alternative crop can be grown without effect on the current agricultural balance and reduce emissions, to continue the charade that ethanol is viable is absurd.

Streamline the process for building nuclear power plants. The ability to produce and maintain smaller, more efficient plants with no emissions is known and has been shown to work. France has zero coal or fuel-burning plants and is a net exporter of energy. Former military bases shut down due to the latest BRAC would be used for this purpose.

Next, refinieries must be built and I propose to also streamline the process for that as well. A completely new refinery has not been built in the US in nearly thirty years and the efficiancy and capacity of our existing refineries is not sufficient to meet current and future needs. I propose that our refining capacity be increased by 50% over the next ten years. We can purchase all the crude oil we want but without the ability to refine it into diesel, gasoline and home heating oils, the shortfalls will continue.

This brings me to new sources of crude oil. Currently we buy our crude oil from the Persian Gulf region and Venezuela. At the same time, we have major stores of crude oil sitting beneath our feet in ANWR, the Gulf of Mexico and under portions of the continental US. I propose that we drill for this oil and get production on line quickly. I will ensure that the natural environment around these areas is protected by increasing the staffing of the EPA and creating a citizen commission that can ensure that petroleum firms are good stewards. We have the ability to extract this precious resource in an environmentally safe and efficient manner and we should be doing just that.

I would further propose that oil shale--oil trapped in shale deposits--be extracted as efficiently as possible. New technology can be used to address the extraction problems and get this vital resource into the pipeline.

Another important avenue we must research is the development of true alternative fuels. Whether it be hydrogen or other renewable and safe resource, we need a new fuel strategy because this is first and foremost a national security issue. American business runs on fuel be it the trucks and trains that haul goods domestically or the ships that carry our exports, we need a new visionary approach.

Global warming may be the reason some would buy into this theory but the need for us to cut our ties to regions where the oil is extracted is paramount.

Finally, back in the early 1960's, John F. Kennedy challenged this nation and NASA to build spacecraft that could reach the moon and to have a human set foot there within the decade of the sixties. We accomplished that goal in 1969. I now propose that we as a nation become energy independent within ten years of today. This will increase domestic job opportunities and will put the nation on track that establishes us as the forward thinking nations we once were. Our technological abilities are peerless and we need to use those abilities to further this cause.

The bill presented to me by Congress does nothing to further the cause of energy independence and therefore will not be signed by me. It's a band-aid on a huge wound and will hurt us more than help us. By utilizing the power and innovation of American business to achieve these aims, we will be beginning the next great industry in the country. I will add needed tax incentives and subsidies to reach this goal. The process will be very open to everyone and those that invest in research and development that shows promise will be rewarded with these subsidies. The days of buying votes with half-baked bills such as the one presented to me are over. I call on the large oil firms and the small entrepeneurs to step up and meet this challenge head on. There is economic and national security benefit for everyone in this proposal and I now say to Congress, the ball is in your court.

It will never happen that way but one can daydream, right?

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