Democrats & Liberals Archives

Total Energy Independence

Has anyone checked out John Kerry’s energy policy? It’s good stuff. It’s based on the concept of ‘energy independence’. That’s an idea that Democrats have nurtured for a long time, going all the way back to the Carter administration’s response to economic and security dangers highlighted by the 1973 OPEC oil embargo.

President Nixon’s response at the time was to stop service stations from selling gas on Sundays and limit gas purchases to ten gallons the rest of the week, until the Arabs decided to sell us oil again. In contrast, President Carter’s plan was to make the United States totally self-sufficient for its energy needs. Carter’s plan will probably be best remembered for its 55 mile per hour speed limit, but his energy policy had the effect of reducing oil imports from the Middle East by 87%.

By the time Presidents Reagan and George H. W. Bush left office, the United States was once again heavily dependent on oil imports from the Middle East, and now we are faced with a new threat from that region. This time the threat comes not from an oil embargo, but from Islamic fundamentalist terrorists. These terrorists are financed by oil money, so the last thing they want is to stop selling us oil. The United States gives more than $20 billion every year to people who are trying to kill us.

Unless Americans stop using so much oil, we will continue to be whores for Arabs. Osama bin Laden is a multi-millionaire and is able to finance al Qaeda because his family has made hundreds of millions of dollars selling oil to you. Islamic charities are overflowing with the money you pay at the pump; money that is being used to teach young Muslims to hate you.

Now, John Kerry isn't going to come out and say that, but it is a fact. That's why energy independence for the United States is so important.

So how do we decrease our dependence on Arab oil? The people of the United States use 25% of the world's supply of oil, but we're sitting on only 3% of all known oil reserves. How can we meet the demand for oil unless we import it? We need to demand less.

Kerry's plan calls for:

Increased fuel efficiency
The automobile industry has said it can increase the fuel efficiency of cars and trucks to 40 miles per gallon without sacrificing safety or performance. John Kerry is only proposing a 36 mpg average. This action alone would reduce the amount of oil we currently import from the country of Saudi Arabia to zero.

The commercialization of hydrogen power
This proposal is not only a way to completely wean ourselves from terrorist oil, it's also a 'job manufacturing machine'. If we make the commitment to a hydrogen powered transportation infrastructure, it will need to be built from the ground up. It will employ hundreds of thousands of people across the job spectrum, and it will put our country at the leading edge of an energy revolution in the same way the United States was at the forefront of the computer revolution in the 1990s.

Use of domestic energy
Hydrogen fuel can be produced efficiently from natural gas and coal. Alaska has vast deposits of natural gas that are hard to bring to market. John Kerry's plan is to build a pipeline to bring natural gas to markets efficiently and inexpensively. Coal is another source of energy that the United States has in abundance. John Kerry's plan includes transitioning to a new generation of clean, efficient coal burning power plants.

Making our country energy efficient
The last thirty years has seen giant advances in energy efficient technology. By applying these new technologies in our homes and workplaces, we can save unbelievable amounts of energy. For example: by replacing four light bulbs in your house with 23-watt fluorescent bulbs, you get the same amount of light, but over three years you save $82 dollars and 452 kilowatt-hours of electricity. If every household in America replaced four bulbs, we'd save as much energy as is consumed by 7 million cars in one year. It's cheap and effective.

John Kerry's plan also calls for assuring that 20% of our energy comes from renewable resources by 2020, but although it will create some jobs in that sector, it's on the margin as far as I'm concerned, and isn't totally essential to our goal of energy independence.

Having just rendered 'green' power marginal, I'd better explain why. We need to be flexible in our approach to achieving energy independence. Anything that keeps us from attaining the goal should be negotiable. If Republicans need to pay off campaign contributors, let Halliburton build the natural gas pipeline or let the oil companies drill in the ANWR. But! Make damned sure that in return, we get total energy independence.

Ok, hopefully you're convinced that energy independence is necessary, and that John Kerry's plan will deliver. How do we pay for it? We can start by retargeting the corporate welfare the Republicans want to provide to energy companies. The House Republican energy bill authorizes billions in new spending and tax cuts for the energy industry. The Senate bill also has subsidies for the industry. John Kerry's plan puts federal resources into developing the technologies that will create energy security and create new jobs.

Energy independence is not about tree-hugging, Streisand-loving, kumbaya-singing leftists. It is a strategic imperative, and it is essential to homeland security. To your security.

Posted by American Pundit at March 23, 2004 11:14 PM