Issue Position: Joe Pennacchio Calls Energy Independence Within 10 Years
Dependence on foreign sources of energy is choking our nation's economy, literally and figuratively killing Americans. Our addiction is both a burden on American consumers and a serious national security issue. In these difficult times, we must make it a priority to explore new oil reserves and invest in alternate sources of energy, such as ethanol, biodiesel, and nuclear power, but there MUST be a plan that looks forward to a day when the United States no longer relies on foreign nations to provide for our energy needs.
In 1961 President John F. Kennedy gave us a vision and a challenge that many thought unfeasible. He said "I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth. No single space project...will be more exciting, or more impressive to mankind, or more important...and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish...." Today I outline a similar vision and challenge for America, and in particular, to the scientists and entrepreneurs who are at the forefront of the alternative energy movement. The vision and challenge is this: I believe that our nation must rid itself of dependence on foreign sources of energy. Achieving this goal is paramount to our national security, which has long been the case, but the nation has lacked the leadership to fully accept the challenge. Today, I accept this challenge and seek to more clearly define it. My campaign for the U.S. Senate, as well as my remaining tenure in New Jersey's State Senate, will be devoted to securing energy independence within a decade. As President Kennedy stated in 1961 when addressing the Cold War space race, I now insist that equal attention be given to energy independence. No single initiative "will be more exciting, or more impressive to mankind, or more important& and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish" but no project is more worthy of our private and public investment than energy independence. Nor could any national endeavor be vital to our future as a free people.
As a nation, both for our safety and economic stability, we must rid ourselves of our dependence on foreign oil.
Today I am proposing a national energy policy, a bipartisan effort which will include political, economic, and scientific efforts, that will allow the United States to become energy independent in just ten years.
My vision to achieve energy independence follows three phases:
We must find new sources of oil and coal along with new and cleaner ways to extract the energy these resources promise. Expanded exploration will allow us the time necessary to develop alternative energy sources, while safeguarding financial resources necessary to the future of energy research.
Provide incentives and tax credits to companies, public institutions, and research foundations to explore cleaner and more efficient sources of alternative energy. No stone should be left unturned and everything must be on the table, including solar, wind, fusion, geothermal, biodiesel, and nuclear energy.
We must offer real incentives to convert to these alternate energy sources. This may include subsidies for solar panels on warehouse roofs, wind turbine installations across our vast farmland, and possibly new fusion/nuclear reactors built far from centers of population.
My vision for this process is meant to be a starting point in the conversation on how to accomplish this difficult task; this is not intended as an end point in the process.
I challenge both national parties, since this problem effects all Americans regardless of party affiliation, to make energy independence a significant plank of their platforms in the 2008 election. Moreover, this issue must be made an immediate priority in the United States Senate.
I am sending a copy of this vision and challenge to both parties and asking them to have a serious discussion about including this in their party s platform.
Our goal should be the eventual elimination of fossil fuels and the proliferation of clean, safe, renewable energy resources. Though challenging, this can be accomplished. What America needs is a clear purpose, direction, and vision for meeting these goals. The challenge is no less formidable than putting a man on the moon or transplanting a human heart, but American has the technology and the resources to do it.
Increase Existing Fuel Capabilities
The United States consumes roughly 22 million barrels of oil per day, or 25% of the world's total. Our rate of consumption is increasing by 2% per year. Until 1970, the United States produced enough oil to meet our needs, but since then, we have become the largest oil importing nation in the world.
There are alternative sources of fuel right here within our own borders, including large, untapped oil reserves. These alternatives must be considered.
Gulf of Mexico -- The Washington Post reports that the Chevron Corporation has discovered a vast oil reserve in the Gulf of Mexico which may be able to recover up to 15 billion barrels of oil. This would boost our own reserves by over 50%.
ANWR -- The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge oil deposits also hold promise. Currently, Prudhoe Bay in Alaska accounts for 17% of the United States' domestic production. Estimates ranging from 4.3 (with a 95% possibility of recovery) to 11.8 billion barrels of oil (5% possibility) can be produced from ANWR. The amount of recoverable oil from both ANWR and the Gulf of Mexico would significantly reduce our dependence on foreign oil. As prices increase, more complex methods of recovery could be required, but would extract even greater amounts of oil. Drilling in ANWR must be accompanied with a commitment to rid ourselves of foreign oil. Without that commitment I would not be in favor of drilling in ANWR because it serves no long term goal.
Shale -- The United States has enormous amounts of oil in shale reserves, more than Saudi Arabia has in crude oil. Oil shale reserve estimates range from 1.5 to 2.6 billion barrels of refineable oil. If only half the oil in shale reserves could be extracted, the United States would then have triple the oil reserves of Saudi Arabia.
Coal -- According to the American Coal Foundation, the United States has the largest reserves of recoverable coal -- 275 billion tons -- or about 25% of the world's reserves. This could last us 250 years at present consumption rates.
Other Alternative Energy Sources are Only Limited by Our Imaginations
Ethanol -- Americans will use six billion gallons of ethanol this year. Already, almost 50% of Brazilian cars are able to rely solely on ethanol as fuel. Most ethanol/gasoline blends in America range between 10-20% ethanol. As we open up the process, Americans stand to benefit from homegrown renewable energy, but we also must realize that using ethanol also increases food prices. This makes ethanol a short term solution and one that we should not rely on for the long term.
Hydrogen Fuel -- Hydrogen powered fuel cells offer the promise of a pollution-free alternative. When combined with oxygen, hydrogen produces electricity; its byproduct is water. Hydrogen can prove to be an emission-free, renewable, and abundant alternative source of energy.
Solar Energy Probably the most encouraging long term solution to our energy needs. Just outfitting the warehouses in New Jersey with solar panels will provide a significant alternative energy source to New Jersey citizens. Why are we not demanding more solar panel installations? Also, according to many sources well maintained solar panel may last hundreds of years. This means that such installations can be financed over a century, not just 5 or 7 years, which is the normal business approach to capital project. Such solar energy installation should be given priority in the IRS code and tax credits.
Other Energy Sources Investment in ideas that are long shots but come with great promise should also be encouraged. Often when the impossible is reached for many great by products are produces and the impossible become possible.
As Benjamin Franklin said, "Politics is the art of the possible."
Our involvement in Iraq should always be based on American security, its vital interests, and the safety and protection of the troops we have committed. Under no circumstances should we not give our troops all the necessary tools to protect and defend themselves while they are there. As we discuss our participation be drawn down.
However, our effort cannot be open-ended. Our commitment must have an equal or greater commitment from the Iraqis themselves. The liberties and freedoms won for Iraq, paid for with American blood and treasure can not be sustained unless reinforced with political solutions by the Iraqis themselves. Iraq must achieve a political compromise. If they are unable or unwilling to set aside their own sectarian differences, we must move our American soldiers out of harms way.
Along with a greater commitment from Iraq should be an equal or greater commitment from our neighboring friends in the region. Countries like Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, Egypt, Dubai and The United Arab Emirates all have a vested interest in having a Democratic and peaceful neighbor in Iraq. Their desire for peace and stability, if it exists, must be met with a comparable commitment that we have given. Unless the region s nations share that view, long-term sustainable peace in Iraq would be difficult. If Iraq and our surrounding friends do not commit themselves as we have done, then our commitment should reflect a commensurate level of support.
Lower Taxes and Stop the Spending
I firmly believe the best judge of how to spend one's hard earned money is the person who earned it. Besides signing the Americans for Tax Reform's "No Tax Pledge," as an elected official, I have consistently voted against tax increases at all levels of government.
As a state legislator, I sponsored legislation to lower the State's sales tax and eliminate our newly increased 'Death Tax'. My pro-business, pro-growth stance has consistently earned high marks and endorsements from the business community. I believe that rather than sending money to Washington and complaining that we do not get "our fair share" (and we certainly don't), it would be in our best interest not to send it down there in the first place. I know that as tax dollars travel further from home the less you get back, and the less accountable and responsible the government becomes with those tax dollars.
In Washington D.C., I will continue to fight for the taxpayer here at home. I will fight against the expansion of the Death Tax when it is due to expire at the end of 2009. I will fight to repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax, also known as the AMT. The AMT is particularly harmful to the New Jersey taxpayer. Like Ronald Reagan, "I believe that we don't have a tax problem, we have a spending problem" and that we can never tax and spend ourselves into prosperity. In fact, increasing taxes and spending more will only guarantee the opposite.
Immigration - The "NOW" Plan
No other issue in American politics seems to frustrate and increase cynicism among our people as does our government's ineptness or unwillingness to control and secure our borders.
Any discussions about Homeland Security lack credibility with the American public, if our government cannot do something as fundamental as securing and protecting our borders. There are many issues that we can debate when it comes to the issue of immigration, but there are some which American are vastly in agreement:
1. Secure our borders using any means available. NOW.
2. Construct the fence: NOW!
3. Deport illegal aliens who have committed crimes against our citizenry. NOW!
4. Enforce existing employment laws. NOW!
The issue of what to do with the 12 million illegal aliens must be framed by future policies must not be base on Amnesty for those who broke our laws by entering our country illegally.
American is a nation of immigrants and will continue to be so, however those who wish to be part "our huddled masses yearning to be free", must wait their turn and enter through the front door not some dusty back door in the desert of the southwest.