September 9, 2008

America Needs a Comprehensive Energy Solution

We must adapt, evolve, and move forward with a comprehensive policy that addresses both supply and demand.

While Speaker Pelosi and the Democrats in Congress refuse to take up meaningful change in an election year, our nation is facing an energy crisis like never before. Gas prices, in real terms, have never been higher; and that includes when we had to line up for gas in 1973. When families have to choose between food and gas, we need change.

In the face of new challenges, we must adapt, evolve, and move forward with a comprehensive policy that addresses both supply and demand. Supply needs to increase by using new technology to increase energy production in an environmentally friendly way.

Nuclear energy has proven itself as a safe, carbon-free and environmentally friendly alternative, with France relying on it for nearly 80 percent of its electricity needs, compared to just 19 percent in America. I support the four new Florida nuclear power plants that are currently pending approval with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

If President Clinton had not vetoed the legislation to permit drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in 1995 our market would have access to some 10.4 billion barrels of oil. ANWR is roughly the size of South Carolina and drilling along its coastal plain would be confined to a space the size of Jacksonville airport. We must use the resources we have.

Alternative fuels need adequate investment before we can judge their full potential, but the future looks promising. Wind-generated electricity increased by 45% between 2005 and 2006 and by 21% between 2006 and 2007—more than any other renewable source of generation in both years. From solar power to oil-producing algae, Americans should be given the chance to innovate.

Offshore drilling is gaining momentum and understandably so. The U.S. Minerals Management Service estimates that areas off our coasts contain approximately 86 billion barrels of oil and 420 trillion cubic feet of natural gas—10 times as much oil and 20 times as much natural gas as Americans use in a year. We are all concerned about the impact of drilling on our environment; however, today’s technology makes it dramatically safer to drill in these areas in an environmentally sensitive way.

On the demand side, conservation must be transformed from a slick catch phrase to a cornerstone of our energy policy. Per capita, the U.S. consumes three times as much energy as China and more energy than all of Europe combined. Education is an important element and so are conservation tax incentives to Americans who make their home, car, and business more energy efficient.

General George Patton said, “A leader is a man who can adapt principles to circumstances.” While our circumstances may have changed—gas prices have increased 75% since the Democrats took control—our principles—caring for our environment, securing a promising future for the next generation, and meeting challenges head on with American ingenuity—remain steadfast and strong.

Date Title
09/11/08 Honoring the Memory of 9/11 Victims
09/09/08 Current record