By Nathan Warner
U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann concluded her two-day energy tour through the 6th Congressional District with a luncheon at Rockwoods in Otsego on Tuesday, April 10.
Bachmann's energy tour included visits to Xcel Energy power stations in Becker and Monticello and Stearns Electric Association in St. Joseph.
Bachmann also pumped gas for her constituents in Lino Lakes. "My constituents are feeling the pain at the pump when they fill up their tanks with gasoline that is nearly $4 a gallon," she said, adding that she was committed to lowering the price of gasoline and legalizing all forms of American energy.
Mark Urista of Coldwell Banker Vision introduced Bachmann to an audience of nearly 100, which included the Elk River Area Chamber of Commerce and ranged from insurance representatives to registered nurses.
Bachmann laid the foundation for her talk with a quote by Daniel Webster that is inscribed on the wall of the Minnesota Senate chamber: "Let us develop the resources of our land, call forth its powers, build up its institutions, promote all its great interests, and see whether we also, in our day and generation, may not perform something worthy to be remembered."
Bachmann said the United States is the No. 1 nation in the world for natural resources such as natural gas, coal, and oil. "Our energy crisis is of our own making," she told the audience. "We have vast resources, but we've locked them up through burdensome regulations and bad policies." At current energy use levels, the United States has enough technically recoverable oil to power the nation for 200 years, enough natural gas for 175 years, and enough coal to last 500 years. "The enormous potentials in high-paying job growth for American citizens in the energy sector is critical at a time when gas prices are skyrocketing and jobs are scarce," she said. Among other things, she proposed opening up federal lands for energy production, adding that nearly all of the energy production in the United States is now limited to privately owned land.
Locally, she praised Anoka-based SarTec for its technology that turns the low-impact weeds pennycress and camelina into biodiesel. In October, SarTec was awarded a $500,000 grant by the Department of Energy to study biodiesel production from inedible crops. "They plant these weeds between the rows of food crops," Bachmann explained, "and harvest energy without losing their focus on agriculture. It's Minnesota ingenuity."
For Bachmann, energy policy and national security go hand in hand. "I serve on the House Intelligence Committee," she said, "and it is very clear that we should stop buying energy from Middle Eastern sources that might be funding terrorist activities against us and our allies, such as Israel."
In addition, she said current U.S. energy policies are preventing economic recovery. "We need to undo these destructive policies and promote domestic energy resources, examine our approach to renewable fuels, and oppose taxes and burdensome regulations, but there is good news for the economy," she added. "By following Daniel Webster's advice, we have the answer to our energy and economic crisis right here in front of us with our abundant, God-given, natural resources. Let's utilize them to create jobs and rescue our economy."