Energy independence is probably one of the greatest goals we can achieve as a nation. The solution to rising energy costs involves looking forward, not backward. Ultimately, our nation needs a common-sense, comprehensive energy plan that moves us to sustained energy independence.
In the short-term, we must take steps to ensure our nation is not held hostage to the prices set by the Middle East. That means we need to look for new sources of oil in Alaska, on the Outer Continental Shelf and from shale in the west. We need to use American innovation to accelerate technology that burns coal more cleanly because it is an abundant energy source in our country. We also need to build new liquefied natural gas facilities, which will increase our natural gas supply.
Over the long run, I believe we need to develop and implement new alternative energy sources and technologies. We can incentivize the development of wind, solar, geothermal and biomass energy. We can use agricultural products and hydro technologies to turn our natural resources into energy producers. Ultimately, we must increase the amount of nuclear power because it is reliable and emission-free and work to dispose of spent fuel rods either through a central disposal site or by reprocessing.
Because bringing down the cost of energy will not happen overnight, you may want to consider ways you can make your own use of energy more efficient. Click here to learn about ways for you to reduce your own energy bills.
Many believe greenhouse gas emissions are contributing to the gradual warming of our planet and changing of our climate. While there are many questions surrounding the science of the issue, it seems to me like we could develop a solution that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions without inflicting catastrophic damage on our economy. I believe we should create a tax credit that incentivizes companies to reduce their own emissions without punishing American workers with the "cap and tax" measure that will send our jobs overseas. Tax credits have proven effective time and again at producing desired change in business, and I do not believe this situation would be any different.
Individuals who wish to take proactive steps to reduce their own impact on the environment can click here to learn more about ways in which they can help.
In an effort to penalize those who use carbon-intensive energy, particularly coal, some in Congress are trying to enact a national carbon energy tax to lower greenhouse gas emissions. You can be certain I will be outspoken in my opposition to this proposal. I am certain that enacting a national energy tax will be devastating to our economy. In addition to raising consumers' energy bills, this tax will make everything produced in the United States more expensive, thus reducing our global competitiveness. This will cost American jobs, particularly in the manufacturing sector and I won't stand idly by and watch it happen.
On June 26, 2009, when Congress considered H.R. 2454, I voted and spoke in opposition to this proposal. You can click here to read my speech on the House floor. Although it passed in the House of Representatives, I am hopeful more rational heads will prevail in the Senate in blocking this harmful proposal from moving forward.