January 15, 2006

Colorado Senators Call for a National Energy Independence Policy

U.S. Senator Ken Salazar (R.CO.) and former U.S. Senator Tim Wirth co-authored an OpEd piece in the Denver Post calling for a national energy strategy centered on energy efficiency improvements in our vehicles, our homes and workplaces. Below are some excerpts...


Denver Post/perspective
A new energy policy

By Sen. Ken Salazar and Timothy E. Wirth

What if a single strategy could help boost rural Colorado, broaden our nation's economic base, bolster American security, reduce worldwide poverty and address global warming? New energy policies and technologies are that opportunity, and we must summon the political will to harness them in service of our state, national and global future.

A national energy independence policy that emphasizes renewable energy and energy efficiency is a win-win-win-win proposition: It will make us more secure by reducing our dangerous dependence on imported oil. It will enhance Colorado's reputation and economic base as a leader in developing biofuels, wind energy, solar power and other renewables. Because energy is the key to economic development in every nation, it will help alleviate poverty worldwide. And it will reduce the threat that global warming poses to God's creation, which we have a moral obligation to protect for our children and our grandchildren.

More than 30 years after the Arab oil embargo of 1973, we are more dependent than ever on imported oil:

U.S. oil imports have doubled in the past three decades, to almost 60 percent of the oil we use - increasing our vulnerability to price spikes and supply disruptions;

We can't produce our way to energy security - America consumes 25 percent of the world's oil but has just 3 percent of its reserves;

OPEC countries, particularly in the volatile Middle East, control most of the world's oil - with more than two-thirds of the world's proven reserves held by countries like Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia - while only 9 percent of the world's oil is found in reliably democratic, "free" countries;

The competition for available oil is increasing, especially from rapidly growing countries like India and China, ensuring continued price pressure. China's oil imports are up 30 percent in recent years, and that country is now the world's second leading oil consumer.

Whether measured in terms of national security or economic stability, America's energy policy is in worse shape today than in 1973.

Two responses are essential. First, we need an aggressive program to jump-start the production of biofuels (fuels that come from domestic agricultural products rather than from foreign oil). Second, we need to accelerate development of new, efficient technologies for our vehicles, homes and workplaces.

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