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Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Time for Bold Action on Energy


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The Atlanta Journal Constitution - Time for Bold Action on Energy

No matter where you look in the United States today, you can see the effects of out-of-control gas prices on the American economy and the family budget. It's not just the painful price of filling up the family car. In Georgia and across the country, the trickle-down effect of these unprecedented gas prices is spreading financial misery to our schools, local governments and small businesses.

School systems in Georgia are struggling to fill the tanks of their school buses. Local police departments are keeping patrol cars parked at night, responding only to direct calls because they can't afford the gas to patrol the streets. Towns across Georgia that rely on tourism sit empty because so few can afford to travel. Our citizens and businesses today are paying more for gas and energy than they have ever paid before, and there is no end in sight.

Enough is enough. It is long past time for Republicans and Democrats to put aside their partisan biases on energy and join together in declaring war on spiraling gas prices and high energy costs.

Republicans must be willing to embrace conservation initiatives as well as alternatives such as solar and wind energy. Democrats must be willing to embrace nuclear energy for electricity and responsible exploration of our oil and gas resources in Alaska, Colorado, Montana and North Dakota, as well as in the Gulf of Mexico and off the Atlantic coast. Congress must pass and the president must sign legislation that removes current restrictions on these resources and their rapid development.

The rising costs for the future delivery of oil are in part based on the belief that America is not serious about reducing its dependence on imported oil or exploring its own resources at home. Unless we act decisively, the speculators will only push the price of oil higher.

In the 1960s, when America was losing its dominance in science and technology to the Soviet Union, President John Kennedy challenged America to send a man to the moon and bring him safely back to Earth by the end of the decade. At the time, we did not have the knowledge to accomplish that goal, but we had the will and we found the way.

Today, our challenge on energy supply and cost is no less daunting than the space race of the 1960s, but unlike the challenge of the space race, we do know how to reduce the cost and expand the supply of energy today. It is time for the president and the Congress to put aside their differences. We must act now and we must act boldly to expand and encourage the exploration and development of all our resources at home.

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