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Author Topic: Washington fails the leadership test on energy  (Read 1054 times)
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WhiskeyGirl
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« on: July 31, 2008, 08:08:42 PM »

Washington fails the leadership test on energy

JONATHAN GURWITZ

Two energy sagas are playing out in Washington, D.C. One is a political drama. The other, a national security tragedy.

In the political drama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is refusing to allow a vote on offshore oil drilling. Why? Because moderate Democrats would join Republicans to pass a measure that while not being a panacea would at least demonstrate a commitment to decreasing the nation's dependence on foreign oil.

If that sounds undemocratic for a Democratic leader, it is. It's also a violation of one of the pledges Pelosi made when she assumed the speaker's chair, a pledge to change the partisan practices of the late, not-so-great GOP majority, a pledge to allow all bills to come to the floor with full, fair debate.

(snip)

Rising prices at the pump are telling us that there's not enough supply to meet current global demand. And those vilified oil speculators are delivering the same, simple, economic expectation about the future. Make it possible to tap a greater supply, and that expectation will change.

The mullahs, potentates and dictators who control the world's oil reserves get a hearty laugh out of all this. The most powerful nation the world has ever known pleads for OPEC to increase production to help its economy while sitting on 18 billion barrels of oil offshore and 10 billion barrels in Alaska that it won't touch.

Tapping those 28 billion barrels of domestic oil, of course, only makes a dent in the 10 million barrels of oil the United States imports every day.

And that's the national security tragedy.

(snip)

The present transfer of wealth from the United States and other industrial countries to the great oil-producing nations is unprecedented in history.

The spoils of every Roman triumph and the plunder of all the conquistadors pale in comparison.

At current prices, Americans are set to send more than $600 billion this year to the oil cartel, many of whose members are enemies of the United States or, at the very least, unfriendly to its democratic values.

Consider that $600 billion is almost 10 times more than we paid annually in the years leading up to 2001. The Sept. 11 attack was merely a foretaste of much greater catastrophes that will come unless this lethal reversal of American fortune ceases.


The failure to stem the hemorrhaging of U.S. power since OPEC's 1973 oil embargo goes far beyond Pelosi. It's a bipartisan failure of leadership over more than three decades, from the White House to Congress, including the current occupant of the Oval Office and both presumptive party nominees. The energy policies of John McCain and Barack Obama consist of conventional formulas sprinkled with appeals to populism crack down on speculators, incrementally increase government subsidies for clean energy and biofuels.

What's needed is a wholly unconventional strategy. And in recent weeks, two individuals from opposite ends of the political spectrum Al Gore and T. Boone Pickens have offered glimpses of what that strategy might look like. You can read their proposals online at algore.com and pickensplan.com.

If much of the language that Gore and Pickens use is similar, there's a reason. Liberals and conservatives, environmentalists and national security hawks should agree about the strategic threat posed by America's dependence on foreign sources of energy. The question in this summer of surging energy prices is this: Where is the leadership in Washington to settle the short-term political drama and address the long-term security crisis?

read the whole story here -
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/opinion/373067_gurwitzonline01.html

www.pickensplan.com

www.algore.com

My use of bold, color, and italics above.
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