Thursday, July 17, 2008

Energy Debate

It seems to me that the Republicans and Democrats just can't get over their petty politics, ideologies and ties to special interests long enough to put together a pragmatic energy policy that will be good for all Americans, break our costly dependence on foreign oil, improve our economic and national security and combat global warming.

The Republicans seem tied to drilling our way out of the oil crisis and continue to provide tax breaks and incentives to the oil, gas and coal companies. They can't break away from 20th century energy solutions that aren't working. Republican also seem to have no appreciation for the benefits the environment provides and hate energy efficiency and renewable energy. To most Republicans, global warming is not a problem that needs to be addressed.

The Democrats, on the other hand, love energy efficiency and renewable energy. They are big into environmental protection. They don't want to open up any new areas for more domestic drilling. Not only do the Democrats want to take away unwarranted tax breaks from oil, gas and coal companies, but also want to add a wind fall profits tax on oil companies to punish oil companies. Democrats seem to be opposed to any new fossil fuel energy development even if strict, effective and enforceable environmental safeguards are put in place. To Democrats, global warming is the biggest problem.

I think the Republicans and Democrats need to be aside their partisan, ideological and special interest dogmas and start working on a pragmatic comprise on energy policy.

The Democrats could allow offshore oil drilling if strict environmental safeguards are put in place. The Republicans should not object to these safeguards. With oil north of $130 per barrel, there is plenty of money to pay for the safeguards and provide oil companies big profits too.

Energy efficiency and renewable energy are a very important part of the energy future. The Republican should support the renewal of the investment tax credits for renewable energy. Republican need to stop protecting the oil can coal industries. Republicans should support that 20% of our energy come from renewable energy by 2020. By stifling U.S. efforts on renewable energy, the Republicans are simply letting foreign countries increase their technological lead over the U.S. They are also letting the energy hole we are in get deeper and deeper.

Both the Republicans and Democrats need to stop going after scapegoats like speculators, OPEC and environmentalist. A real energy plan would mitigate efforts by these groups and other to limit energy supplies and manipulate prices. Both the Democrats and Republicans also need to prepare for peak oil. Peak oil occurs when world oil production stops growing and eventually starts to decline as oil fields deplete. Sure we may have oil for another 100 years. But the production rates will be much lower than they are today.

Basically, we need Democratic and Republican statesmen and stateswomen to go beyond petty politics, ideologies and special interest to create pragmatic energy policies that will provide a healthy and prosperous future for America.

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