Issue Position: Security, Energy, Environment, Economy
I group these issues together because they are all integrated, interconnected and independent but interrelated. By developing an industry of energy we can address environmental concerns, enhance our economic opportunities and productivity, and bolster our national security.
District 2 is uniquely positioned to become an industry of energy. We already have two wind turbine and blade manufacturing concerns, one in Cedar Rapids and one in Burlington. Federal and state government policy should address the necessary transmission access lines that provide the capacity to expand wind-generated energy from remote high wind resource areas to urban high-energy consumptive areas. High voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission lines are expensive and a cost-benefit analysis must be undertaken with the consideration of intangibles such as the environmental friendliness of wind energy, and effect on national security.
There is also tremendous success in landfill waste management and manure that produces fuel sources. Newer technologies that utilize our progressing knowledge of bio-genetics or biotechnologies are creating a breed of algae that can produce oil. We have these resources both privately and publicly in Iowa City and Cedar Rapids such as the University of Iowa's Centers of Enterprise, Asoyia, BFC Gas & Electric (waste management), Clipper Industries as well as Alliant and Mid-American Energy production and utilization of wind generated power. We should be able to access the capacity of the Mississippi River while being environmentally conscious utilizing both wave generated wind and hydroelectric energy where feasible.
While ethanol and bio-diesel are the most commonly known of alternative fuel sources, one has to be concerned about the impact on food prices, wildlife habitat when previously set aside acreage is turned into productive cropland and the utilization of water resources. Ethanol and bio-diesel is only a singular facet of alternative energy sources. Further wind energy could be developed by farmers, sold back to utility companies, and would not severely impact the acreage in production. Farmers are some of the most environmentally friendly individuals in Iowa as their livelihood depends on this valuable resource--cropland.
We are of course the environmental stewards of the planet and efforts to conserve, utilize, and develop alternative energy sources such as outlined above are necessary and desirable. A new generation of electric vehicles that use linked capacitors rather than the traditional battery could go up to 250 miles without recharging and be recharged from wind generated electricity. We have not discussed modern nuclear energy, which is safe, has minimal residue if fuel rods can be re-charged, and has zero carbon emissions.
How does any of this impact national security? It is not a long stretch to envision that we maintain our sovereignty and economic viability when we do not depend on large imports of oil from other countries. Even we import the majority of our oil from friendly countries such as Canada and Mexico, we can reduce our trade deficit by generating more of our energy needs locally. This also creates jobs and a new economy that is difficult to outsource to other countries. Wind turbines alone that can generate 2 megawatts of electricity are several hundred tons in weight. Since oil is sold in dollars, would reduced U.S., consumption and greater U.S. production and refinery capacity bolster the sagging dollar?
Ultimately, we need federal and state government policies that promote the educational, entrepreneurial and commercial development of our unlimited potential to create a better environment, a sound energy economy and a more secure nation.