U.S. needs an ‘all of above’ energy policy - Tucson Local Media: Editorials

U.S. needs an ‘all of above’ energy policy

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Posted: Tuesday, September 2, 2008 11:00 pm

Our prosperity and strength as a nation begins with a strong economy, fueled by affordable sources of energy. We have not diversified our sources of energy nearly enough and that reliance has become dependence.

America needs to focus on real energy policy, including domestic exploration and development, conservation and innovative diverse alternatives.

As gasoline prices hover around $4 a gallon, there was no excuse for Congress to adjourn to go on vacation. Congress is failing the American people.

I believe we need to find more, use less and focus on the next generation forms of energy.

We need an “all of the above” policy, not one solution. Congress continues to look the other way while Arizonans feel the pain at the pump.

The current member of Congress voted to block H.R. 6566 The American Energy Act (House Roll Call 524). The American Energy Act is commonsense and a good start to wean America off Middle Eastern oil. H.R. 6566 would:

Open the Arctic coastal plain and our deep water resources to drill for oil and natural gas; allow development of our nation’s shale oil resources; ease refinery restrictions to increase domestic production; promote coal-to-liquid fuel technology; permanently extend the tax credit for alternative energy production; eliminate barriers to the expansion of emission-free nuclear power production.

We can’t wait any longer. We must invest in a variety of energy, not just one.

I support an aggressive and balanced energy plan, promoting a plan of exploration and development of American energy resources, including access to oil, gas and coal, as well as development of renewable energy like solar, hydrogen, wind, nuclear, and bio-fuels. Conservation and changes in habits should also be incentivized.

Drilling for new oil sources is not enough; American innovation must develop real solutions that can stand the true test of market forces.

Any and all development must be done with cutting edge technology to ensure the protection of the environment. Stewardship of our resources and environment must be a priority.

The sentiment that drilling now won’t help for 10 years is wrong. New oil could be flowing in some cases in 3-4 years. But the impact on prices would be immediate. Why? Because markets would have to discount future oil prices for the expected gain in future supply, causing oil prices to drop. In 1981, Reagan removed domestic controls on oil and prices fell from $34 in 1981 to $11 in 1986.

Proponents of the “use it or lose it” argument are making a fundamental error. A company buys a lease because of a “possibility” that there may be attainable resources. They then go through the permitting process and then attempt to find and extract the resources. It would be like mandating a farmer to grow crops where the soil doesn’t produce.

The challenge will be met be focusing on both short term and long term solutions.

In the short term:

Expand refinery capacity by allowing new refineries to be built; fast track the permitting process.

Allow for consistent blends. Right now boutique blends are required for different areas of the US.  Consistent blends would allow for refineries to produce more gasoline.

Exploration and development of America’s resources will decrease our dependence on foreign energy. Let’s put American innovation and ingenuity to work today providing access to our nations’ own energy resources. The byproduct of the “rush to innovation” would be more high-paying American jobs.

Market prices will be driven lower due to real action by America to truly solve its problem. Once we aggressively take the steps towards independence, market forces will drive the prices down.

In the long term:

I support development of alternatives to become competitive in the market place. These solutions must become market driven if they are to truly be effective.

We must incentivize conservation. The high prices at the pump are forcing Americans to change their energy habits. By incentivizing more efficient vehicles, we will be helping families through the challenging time and also improve the economy by keeping more of their discretionary income in their own pocketbooks.

Promote energy efficiency and update current energy infrastructure. We must take advantage of new, advanced technologies that bring more efficiency to the grid.

American innovation and ingenuity will provide the next generation vehicles and energy sources. Let’s put our best and brightest minds to work.

Let’s bring those high tech jobs to Arizona.

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