For too long, our energy policy has been anything but forward-looking. A lack of leadership in the White House to enact a comprehensive energy policy and leaders sympathetic to the oil industry have left Americans with $4/gallon gasoline, and little hope for relief.
Families are feeling a lot of pain at the pump right now, and the Democratically-led Congress is working to try and make up for the failed policies of the past. We are in an energy crisis, and we must take a good look at all of our domestic options to help bring some relief to families, including additional drilling on federal lands. That said, I also believe we should not simply give away the store to the oil companies, in an attempt to help them control as much land as possible - and as a result a greater share of the market - before President Bush leaves office.
It's also important to recognize that the cure for our addiction to oil is not more oil. We couldn't drill our way to energy independence even if we wanted to. That's why I'm calling for a comprehensive energy strategy that recognizes the market forces at play. I know the impulse is to focus only on the short term, but we cannot squander this opportunity when there is the political will to make the investments that will prevent this situation in the future.
Ron's Plan for a Sustainable and More Affordable Energy Future
1. Respond to this energy crisis with action that is as monumental as the task, by making historic investments in the development of renewable technologies that will bring us to the next level.
2. Increase domestic supply by developing the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A), giving costal states the authority to open new salt-water areas to drilling, and requiring oil companies to fully explore the 68 million acres of federal land they hold leases for but have yet to develop - or the federal government will find someone who will.
3. Reduce our demand for energy through increased energy conservation on the federal, state, local, and individual level.
4. Release a small amount of oil from the Strategic Oil Reserve (SPR) to immediately expand available supplies, send a strong message to oil speculators, and help reduce the record prices that are helping push the economy toward recession.
5. Return to a strong dollar policy to reduce inflation and bring oil prices down. Actions by the Federal Reserve, as well as bringing our budget into balance and reducing our deficit can strengthen our currency, and reduce prices.