America needs a real energy policy

-A A +A
By Congressman Bob Goodlatte

Energy is vital to every aspect of American life.  It is used in our homes, our small businesses and industries. Energy powers computers, appliances, technology and the Internet and fuels transportation and farming. When energy supplies are tight, families and businesses are severely impacted by the resulting increase in energy costs.  

Increased demand for oil here in the U.S. and across the world coupled with the current unrest in the Middle East have resulted in Americans paying an average of nearly $3.45 at the gas pump.  Americans haven’t seen gas prices increase this quickly since September of 2005 when Hurricane Katrina hit the gulf coast and hopefully we are not headed toward the record highs of the summer of 2008.

Abundant and affordable energy and energy conservation are the keys to a strong economy.  For that reason, I support an energy policy that encourages environmentally sound ways to find and use more traditional and alternative sources of energy in our own country.

We must modernize the nation’s energy policy by tapping into more of our massive energy resources located in the deep seas on the outer-continental shelf (OCS).  I support opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, known as ANWR, to energy exploration in an environmentally-sound manner, which could provide an additional one million barrels of oil per day.  Additionally, we must open for development the oil shale in the Rocky Mountain states, which may be the largest oil deposits in the world, assuring a reliable domestic source as we transition to alternative sources of energy.

We must diversify our energy supplies with alternative fuels, including renewable energy from our farms and forests but we must do so without the government mandates and subsidies that are today driving the cost of food and animal feed up as we produce more ethanol from corn.  We should develop a renewable policy where the government incentivizes the development of new technologies but does not mandate the use of any particular fuel like corn-based ethanol which drives up costs for consumers.

Further, in promoting green energy we should encourage the production of more nuclear power which provides CO2 emission-free energy.  Other countries are far outpacing the U.S. in their commitment to clean nuclear energy.  We generate only 20 percent of our energy from this clean technology.  Nuclear energy is the most reliable and advanced of any renewable energy technology, and if we are serious about encouraging CO2 free energy use, we must pursue nuclear energy.

Finally, we need to establish an energy trust fund using some of the revenues generated from traditional energy development.  The fund would be administered to support research and loan guarantees that provide Americans with the most energy for the least cost. This would result in development of new sources of energy including renewable energy such as solar, wind, and hydrogen where appropriate.

Our inability to set a national energy policy is affecting all Americans and sucking the lifeblood out of our economy.  It is a major long term contributor to the economic instability we are currently experiencing.  I will continue to support and push for initiatives that encourage exploration, innovation, and conservation and lower energy prices for consumers, ultimately making America stronger.

To contact me about this or any other matter, please visit my website at www.goodlatte.house.gov.