Skip to comments.Analysis: Reid to change U.S. energy plan
Posted on 12/01/2006 6:32:44 PM PST by Extremely Extreme Extremist
LAS VEGAS, Dec. 1 (UPI) -- When he takes control of the U.S. Senate in January, Harry Reid's agenda will include moving the country toward energy independence -- a U.S. security issue, he says -- which he blames the Republican Congress and president for hindering.
In an exclusive interview with United Press International in his Las Vegas office, the future Senate Majority Leader said Thursday he's astonished by how much oil the United States consumes and by the lack of attention paid to drawing down the crude habit.
"Think about this: We use 21 million barrels of oil every day," said Reid, D-Nev. "But then to make it even more profane, we import 65 percent of that."
He said voters Nov. 7 decided on the Democratic Party, partly because "energy independence" was part of its platform.
"With the Republican-dominated Congress and the president, we couldn't change it. We offered amendments that were turned down easily. We were voted down on party line basis most every time."
Reid said Congress needs to invest away from fossil fuels and more in solar and wind power, geothermal (generating power from the natural heat deep in the Earth) and biomass (converting plant matter to fuels).
"We can't do it overnight but I think we have to set goals. How about something as simple as reducing the importation of oil by a million barrels a year," Reid said.
"If we could only import 20 million barrels then we could do a number of things. What I hope that we would do is move to alternative energy. Give tax credits over a long period of time, not a year or two, so people could invest in alternative energy. We could certainly do more with conservation that we're not doing."
Of the 7.6 billion barrels of crude and petroleum products the United States consumed in 2005, 3.3 billion barrels was burned in the nation's vehicles, according to the Energy Information Administration, the data arm of the U.S. Energy Department.
Reid says this is a great starting point for reducing U.S. consumption and increasing energy efficiency, and favors raising the bar for fuel economy standards, which the industry is against.
"We really feel that the best way to encourage efficiency is by stimulating the market with incentives," said Wade Newton, communications director for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.
"The industry supports putting as many fuel efficient vehicles on the road as soon as possible," not with mandates, but by creating a market of many options and giving consumers tax incentives to purchase efficient vehicles.
Reid says he'd also be open to new nuclear power in the United States. But he's at odds with the industry over what to do with the nuclear waste. Reid wants it kept safe at the nuclear plants as opposed to a proposed repository inside Yucca Mountain, 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas.
While the Yucca argument is a major one, Trish Conrad, spokeswoman for the Nuclear Energy Institute, said the industry is looking forward to working with the new Congress.
"We know that he has supported nuclear energy in the past," she said.
Without giving exact details, Reid said to expect a tax on oil company profits he deems excessive.
"Yeah, we're going to do a number of things. We believe that there should be a windfall profits tax. See I personally think it's not right that Exxon makes $40 billion a year net profit and we give them subsidies."
He said he's in favor of some domestic oil and gas drilling off the U.S. coast, part of an offshore drilling bill the Senate passed earlier this year (although it's at odds with a House version), but won't allow exploration in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
"ANWR will not happen. I am opposed to it. That was one of the joys of my life was when we defeated that legislative initiative of Sen. (Ted) Stevens (R-Alaska) to drill in ANWR," he said.
"There are things we can do for domestic production but keep in mind we control less than 3 percent of oil in the world," Reid said. "Ninety-seven- plus percent is in Saudi Arabia, Russia, other countries. We can't produce our way out of the problems that we have. It's not improbable, it's impossible.
"We have two years guaranteed and I hope by the end of this Congress we have things that are in motion to cut down our dependence on foreign oil."
Reid said the country has been short-sighted when making decisions on energy, which he said should be looked at as both a security and an economic issue. And he said foresight requires a move away from Bush administration policies; away from the secret energy strategy meetings held by Vice President Dick Cheney in 2001, which created the basis for all energy legislation and policy over the past six years.
"How did we come up with the energy policy that we have? Obviously this is the most oil-friendly administration in the history of our country. They both made their fortunes in oil."
So many lies, so little room to rebut...
These guys are only going to last 2 years. They can't even wait until they get into office to do it.
What a maroon. That's known oil reserves. Plus the Canadians have tar sands in Alberta. Plus, you know, our oil and energy companies are busy spending money looking for more oil...and they would prefer to look for the oil in U.S. territory, but you 'Rats won't let them, so they go looking elsewhere.
Bush administration lost a golden opportunity to explain to people that the Dims and their envirowacko buddies were blocking energy production. Plus Bush made that stupid "We're addicted to oil!" comment. That right there sealed our fate.
What a hateful POS! This man is full of anger and hate.
Sounds like we better get ready for Jimmy Carter style 1974 gas lines times 10 and $5.00/gallon gasoline.
President Bush has pushed for the ANWR drilling bill so many times but it did not pass. You have rush into attacking President Bush about everything and blame him for everything and forget that the real problem is the democrat party.
Set the example Harry, shut the damp lights off in LV
I guess Harry Reid has some Las Vegas 'associates' who are 'silent partners' in some alternative energy companies...
Simply stated, and exactly right. The Bush-bashers can say what they want on this thread, but this is the plain, unassailable truth.
THank you. Lately it seems like every thread has a Bush Basher front and center. It sickens me.
I agree, the POTUS made a really stupid as well as harmfull statement regarding oil. What the hell was on his mind when he said that is beyond me. Now these clowns will use it to fit into their agenda. Being. Keep us oil dependent on others.
ANWR would be a million barrels a DAY....
Sounds like we better get ready for Jimmy Carter style 1974 gas lines times 10 and $5.00/gallon gasoline.
8 posted on 12/01/2006 6:45:13 PM PST by Mogollon
And gas rationing.
Personally I think Harry is disappointed that Exxon makes $40 billion and doesn't get his cut. Those subsidies are for oil exploration and developing alternative energy sources, so eliminating the subsidies would produce less of what Reid wants.
yes, but few americans know that. because of the "new tone", we haven't had anyone up there stating bluntly, the ills of the Democratic party.
going negative against your political opponents - works.
All I see in this article is political rhetoric. I don't see one useful idea from Sen. Reid that will improve our level of energy independence. I would bet that one of his ideas will be to build more government-subsidized mass transit systems to "get people out of their cars." Light rail systems can be useful if they're built in the right locations and if the construction costs are controlled. But I expect to see a lot of pork spending proposals on mass transit from the Dem congress.
They knew this a longtime ago and are the very reason we can't drill more in the U.S..
What unreal Hypocrites!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
He sounds bossy and condescending.
It's also a tip-off that he is about to say something that is inherently boring (or untrue).
How many drags on the Hookah did it take to come up with this pipe dream Harry?
Solar, Wind and geothermal (along with the unmentioned Hydro) are all site limited. Even if all of the available economically feasible sites were developed it would not amount to 10% of current electric energy production.
As for biomass if we converted all of the current farm production to biomass fuels we would not produce enough fuel to supply current fuel consumption.
Not to mention the thermodynamics of biomass do not add up. It takes more energy to produce products like biodiesel than the biodiesel generates when burned.
Then why buy up Florida's oil leases?
"The actions we are taking today to preserve Florida's environment are truly unprecedented," added Governor Bush. "Today, thanks to the President's support, we are reversing the momentum of nearly half a century in Florida and guaranteeing the preservation of our environment-based economy and quality of life."
Jeb Bush - the environmentalist tool - who knew?
Yes, of course, the Democrats have blocked any sensible energy plan for six years. It's not that President Bush didn't try to pass legislation, it's just that he is just too NICE and POLITE.
It's all very well to be nice and polite when you're a private citizen, but part of his job as president was to move the US toward energy independence. He never really spoke out on this issue or attacked the Democrats the way Harry Reid is now attacking him.
It's hard to do when the Democrats control the media, but if you never really bring these issues out in the open, then it's not surprising that the voters are confused and bamboozled.
Yep. I have been increasingly frustrated by the President, by he has been thwarted by the Greenies who control Dem energy policy.
President Bush shares some of the blame in this.
He did not aggressively pursue energy production & he did not use the bully pulpit to explain to the people that Democrats and their far-left envirowacko friends are responsible for our stagnant energy policy.
This issue was a no-brainer, winning issue for the GOP, and they dropped the ball big-time.
Look, we all know how Democrats' operate. But the GOP simply has to do a better job in refuting the Dims' environmental lies.
EEE, you are becoming one of the unbearable people on FR, you simply hate the President too much.
I'll tell you what I think is wrong Harry: the federal Dept. of Education has a massive multi-billion dollar budget and yet it produces almost nothing of any value. Reid also forgot to mention that Exxon-Mobil is the biggest oil company in the world with revenues that will approach $400 billion this year, so their next profit margin is only going to be about 10%. IIRC, that's way below the net profit margin of Microsoft and many other US companies.
["We can't do it overnight but I think we have to set goals. How about something as simple as reducing the importation of oil by a million barrels a year," Reid said.]
How about Democrats not use any oil?
Practice what you preach,
Mr. Reid and supporters,
'reducing the importation' of even more oil.
if you don't go negative, people can't differentiate why your positions are right, and the opposition is wrong.
In my Dem city (Pittsburgh) they are building a tunnel under the river- several hundred million of Federal dollars. In a dying city. An incredible waste- considering most people WALK to where the subway goes, or drive. Expect to see more of these boondoggles.
Where did I bash Bush at?
All I said is that the President lost a golden opportunity to address our failed energy policy. He should have taken the bull by the horns.
That's not bashing, that's objective criticism and the truth. Where was the President's leadership on this important issue?
Bush administration has lost a host of golden opportunities because they have been grotesquely, vividly incompetent at communicating, much less staying in touch, with the people.
There's only one word for the Bush PR effort. Lame.
san francisco is trying to put a tidal power generator near the golden gate bridge.
it has no chance of getting in, already the loonies out there are saying the fish are going to get caught in it.
Oh spare me the BS. Nobody in here hates Bush, but I will call the President out on something I and many others disagree on him with.
Our energy policy stinks. My heating bills in Northern WI have skyrocketed over the last six years. Where is the energy production at? Where is the leadership?
Democrats are slimeballs but if there's one thing they know how to do, is play politics. On energy the administration did absolutely nothing to counter the Dims' propaganda.
Nice strawman, but objective criticism is not "hating" the President. I met and shook hands with Bush several times, so yank your head out from your behind.
It's tough to refute anything from the Dems when the msm does not do honest and balanced reporting on GOP speeches. The msm always tries to make it sound like there's really not much oil in Alaska or offshore of California and it really won't help us out if we produce oil from those regions. That kind of reporting is just false, distorted and unbalanced and it makes it very difficult for the GOP to get our side of the story out to the public. The Democrat energy plan is usually mass transit subsidies and more regulation to increase fuel economy by making cars & trucks smaller and lighter. Regulation to require smaller vehicles saves some energy but it makes it harder for US auto companies to compete with Asian companies and it causes more traffic fatalities in accidents.
I am surprised theyre not screaming about the harbor seal and the pelicans.
The Democrats haven't learned anything. Back to preaching about "sinful consumption" and clamoring for a "windfall profits tax" just like in the days of president Carter. What is their plan for "alternative energy?" Nuclear power? Nope. Solar energy? They would be against it where it might be practical because solar arrays gather too much heat and might warm the earth. Windmill electric generators? No way! Windmills are "ugly." Efficient, clean diesel engines in cars? Probably not -- they don't want cars to be fuel-efficient and affordable. They would rather force those who can afford it to buy expensive gimmicks like hybrid or electric cars. The proles who cannot afford $40,000 for a fancy hybrid car can walk. Oil from shale? No way, the greedy oil companies might profit from that.
Ford is probably already going bankrupt. increase CAFE, or tax SUVs, and Ford is gone, and GM probably goes down too.
I've been voting all straight republican for years in order for the US to become independent on foreign oil by increasing the drilling here in our own country. Even when they were in control they failed to do it.
The President made his money by an astute investment in a baseball stadium that the good people of Arlington Texas approved in a referendum. How did you make your money Senator.