What our country needs today is a comprehensive energy policy. This policy must plan for our long-term energy needs, and also provide short-term help for families who are suffering every day from rising energy costs.
Oil is not our future. It creates a national security threat because it comes from dangerous places in the world, and it poses harm to our environment by polluting our atmosphere and driving up greenhouse gases. And domestically, even if we drilled in every possible source, we wouldn't produce enough oil to sustain our economy.
There is a different, better way forward.
What we need is diversity: sustainable, renewable, clean resources that are environmentally sound. This needs to be supplemented with conservation and efficiency. We need technology that is available now, and we need to address gas prices immediately.
Government needs to get out of the way, and let innovative Americans show us the way to the new technology, energy, and power that will drive our factories and our country.
The Reichert Comprehensive Energy Plan
Short-term: Stabilize economy first
Oil is not our future, and increased drilling pushes back the date when we can be free of oil. It is unrealistic to ask the American people to wait on new technology that could take 10 years to develop. Because our economy is so based on oil, we must end our dependence responsibly.
We need to increase domestic production to help get us through the tough economic times we're facing, but it needs to be donein a responsible and environmentally safe way. This means drilling only on lands already permitted by the U.S. Department of Interior - not in pristine areas such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). Debating ANWR is a waste of time, a distraction, and should be taken off the table. Instead, there are 68 million acres of land already leased to oil companies that could be explored for oil such as the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska where we currently drill. We should give incentives to companies to help them find and produce oil there. And we must increase refinery capacity in an environmentally safe way to bring increased domestic supply to market. This will carry us to the future.
Mid-term: Bridge to the future
Some technologies will not be available immediately - that's the price we pay for years of inaction. In the meantime, there are technologies we can employ with a little investment. These include plug-in hybrid vehicles. We'll propel and create a market for this technology by purchasing them for federal and other government fleets.
Long-term: Our future
The power of the free-market will make the United States the world leader in clean, renewable energy technology and efficiency. We'll harness wind, wave, solar, and geo-thermal resources and develop alternative fuel options, including electric vehicles, and non-food ethanol alternatives. To do this, we need to offer incentives, including extending research and development tax credits to encourage investment. We also need an abundance of clean energy. If we are serious about eliminating greenhouse gases, then we must consider Nuclear energy. It offers zero-emission, large-scale power. Other countries find ways to use this energy responsibly - surely we can do the same. And we must look carefully at ways to become more energy efficient - from the appliances we use, to the windows we build, to the buildings we construct, and then developing standards to back it all up. Finally, we need to step up energy conservation efforts on the roads, in the air, at work, and at home.
My goal is to create an environment where people are competing to usher in a new era of energy independence in America because we give them the financial, professional and technological assets to successfully solve our most difficult challenges. This is the way forward.