Monday, July 28, 2008

Sensible Leadership For Energy Solutions

In the past few weeks, the nation has seen evidence that our leadership has finally started acting on giving America sensible solutions to energy needs. And I don't mean Chicken Little Gore and his dire warnings about the death of human civilization, nor do I mean Ann Barth's interesting, yet not quite accurate statements about the continental shelf.

First we see President George W. Bush lifting the executive order banning continental shelf drilling. Now Congress needs to act to not only save their political skins, but to increase supply as quickly as possible. Critics claim that we may not see the benefit for five years, but won't we still need energy at that point even if they were correct? Wow, what if we had done this five years ago!

T. Boone Pickens, a Texan who made his money in oil, has launched a national campaign to create a more diversified energy base for America. It relies not only on domestically produced oil, but also clean coal technology, more extraction of natural gas, and also wind and solar power. This makes tremendous sense if leaders have the willingness to listen.

This brings us to our own congressional delegation. Alan Mollohan and Nick Joe Rahall continue to strenuously oppose drilling in a few thousand of the million plus acres of the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge while continuing to back mountaintop removal coal mining. Do they still get a gold star from the Sierra Club? Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito joined a bipartisan group of twenty members of Congress from across the political spectrum as well as the nation. This group has made progress towards a compromise energy policy. Certainly we must encourage clean power sources such as wind, water, and solar sources, but the nation must understand that fossil fuel use will continue to be the backbone of our supply for a long time.

Americans historically react slowly to problems, but once engaged find solutions quickly. Congresswoman Capito's work on the energy study group not only will benefit her district and state, but also the nation and the world. When it comes to prosperity and security, as goes America, so goes the world. Thankfully we have a member of Congress willing to step up, disregard petty politics, and help lead the way.

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