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."
Well, the honorable senator is half right: We do need to move toward energy independence, so that we aren't giving billions in petrodollars to our rabid enemies. But to lay the blame for our current dependency exclusively at the Republicans' doorstep--or even chiefly there--is a convenient distortion of the facts. The Democrats' refusal to drill in the winter wonderland of ANWR is hardly the result of dispassionate reasoning; it is more closely akin to a religious taboo, albeit one of a distinctly secular variety.
Reid...favors raising the bar for fuel economy standards, which the [automotive] industry is against.
Reasonable people can debate this one. But if new standards are applied to US-manufactured cars alone, there will be an even greater flight to imported cars--at least, to the extent that the two can still be distinguished from each other. (After all, Nissans are built in Smyrna, Tennessee--just a hop, skip, and a jump from where I live--and other "foreign" cars are also routinely built in the US.)
If the new standards are applied across the board, it will probably result in marginally higher prices for new cars--not an automatic disqualifier, but something to be considered, nonetheless.
Either way, the result is likely to be lighter cars--which is to say, more fatality-prone cars, whenever they are involved in accidents.
An honest approach would be one that considers the potential benefits and trade-offs of the proposed policy. Anything less is unworthy of a man who seeks to be a leader.
Without giving exact details, Reid said to expect a tax on oil company profits he deems excessive.
This is sheer demagoguery. Very few people harbor warm and fuzzy feelings toward Big Oil; so there is not much of a downside in rhetorically attacking it. And since President Bush and Vice-President Cheney have past ties--in one way or another--to the oil industry, there could be no better opportunity for a cheap shot. It's a "twofor."
In fact, oil-company profits are not typically "excessive," when compared with other industries. To single out this vital industry for confiscatory taxation is not indicative of a great mind--even by the rather limited standards of the US Senate--since that would no doubt result in less domestic exploration.
Then again, that is something about which most Democrats (including Majority Leader-to be) Harry Reid seem rather unconcerned...
The Congress actually did pass an energy bill after Bush prodded them for years. The bill unfortunately contained almost none of the energy policy that our national security desperately needs, but it did recycle tired canards, offer vague platitudes, and distribute train loads of corrupt political pork. Even under nominal Republican control, the Congress utterly failed to confront the daunting problems of our generation and our posterity, failed to make any difficult choices that might generate political animosity, and acted only ambivalent about the seminal issue of our time, Islamofascist terrorism.
I hear Jimmah Carter has a few sweaters he can spare for use by the Whine Wing of the Dem party. You know, the ones hat blocked any attempts at meaningful policy legislation for 6 years.. all in the name of energy independence.
PS.. If you want to champion efforts, quit being such a freakin' hypocrit.
Democrats have so little imagination.
Must be from smoking entirely too much crack.
as a side note,,
I personally find it ironic that the Senator that sat as the head on a Senate committee investigating the oil-for-food debacle at the UN is also on record as voting against drilling ANWR.
Thanks Norm old boy, but for a vote or two , we would already be on the road towards energy independence to a limited degree.
There is definitely plenty of blame and flame to go around on both sides of the aisle.
High school Dingy. Very, very high school.
This "article" had all objectivity of an item I read earlier today about "our wise and kind leader, Kim Jong IL".
This is why the so-called financial advantage for republican campaigns amounts to nought. The outright propaganda coming from the BSM cannot be bought by us at any price.
So much for "journalistic integrity".
Events in the ME are going to completely overshadow anything this boob comes up with
The dems are so out of touch it is pathetic
The ME is ready to blow sky high and these fools act like they are in some other time zone warp
yes, by all means let's charge headlong into ethanol only. Then in a few decades when then farmland to furnish it becomes a barren wasteland from overuse what's the next scam the enivornmental whackos foist upon the public?
Many of us here on FR have wondered time and again why the President, why any Republican, has not come out with a moon landing style directive to make our country energy independent within, say, 10-15 years. It is a subject that resonates with the peeples, not just us political junkies on FR.
Instead of that we got the landing on Mars in 20 years initiative that fell like a lead balloon. Talking about putting a man on Mars during Iraq, during the WOT, during the aftermath of Katrina, during the high energy prices back then, was completely out of touch (as much as I personally would like to see it).
So, Dingy Harry and the Dims are taking over a very important and needed topic. Of course, their recomendations will be ridiculous and will never address the problem, but I just wonder what the h@!@ the Republicans and the President are thinking by not coming up with a bold energy initiative for energy independence for our country and then promoting the crap out of it.
I have to say my memory is that there was a significant push by the Bush Administration to get a better energy policy going. This is an issue that is just way susceptible to demogogery. Bush says more production and the environmentalists say "Enron", Cheney secret meeting, oil cronies. The price of gas spikes and the Democrats say gouging. We just have a critical shortage of leaders who will speak clearly to the American people about choices we have to make rather than boogie men and environmental disaster.
The president outlined his four-point plan to reduce high energy prices: Promote conservation; produce and refine more crude oil in the United States; develop alternative sources of energy, such as renewable ethanol or biodiesel; and help other nations, such as China, to become more energy-efficient to reduce global demand for energy. He said it was time for the United States to expand its nuclear power capacity.
"Today, millions of American families and small businesses are hurting because of high gas prices," Bush said at a forum on energy efficiency. "If you're trying to meet a payroll or trying to meet a family budget, even small increases at the pump have a big impact on your bottom line."
By the Way, How does dingy Harry's plan of putting the kabosh on nuclear waste disposal in Nevada fit in to solving our energy woes?
What an incredibly ignorant idiot.
We will be a third world poverty nation in 2 years if these MF's have their way. 25% unemployment, 25% interest. People dying in the streets.
Bet on it.
Huh? What about ANWR? Thought the DEMS put the roadblocks up for that. The most "ethical" congress is full of vultures and snakes.
Excellent picture : says it all...
Reid and the scumbag Democrats (along with some scumbag RINOs) have consistently stood in the way of drilling for oil on US property. I guess now it's time for the real Republicans to stand in the way of whatever goofy ideas the scumbags have. Touche.
I guess you didn't get the memo. We hold GW and Rove responsible for the disaster November on 7th.
I'll give you that the little crook is not often truthful, but you have overlooked his main problem...
*No offense meant to geologists.
LOL, I remember those sweaters, "Rafshoonery" it was called at the time, after Gerald Rafshoon, "image consultant" hired by the Carter White House. I saw his name in the production credits at the end of some excreble bit of TV the other night. Rafshoon's name that is, not Carter's. Jimmah is by definition excrement.
Old plan = No plan
New plan = No plan
Result? SOS, just worse. More freedoms restricted.
After his little speech, he jumped into and SUV, that was part of a seven parade of SUV'S, drove about 1 mile to a little airport got into a twin engine helicopter flew another mile and then got into a 747 for a vacationtrip where he was met by another SUV parade and so on, and so on, and so on.
He could have made it short and simple by saying this is for the common people not the arrogant elected officals who have a different set of rules for themselves.
All Hollywood celebrities could fly commercial!
Bush ran on the increase drilling at home/build more refineries platform.
All the BS and its right back where we started ,more mileage on cars ,the next thing they will say is put on a sweater and turn down the thermostat
He's still in idiot. We should be drilling wherever there are possible oil resources.
There were always blocs of Republicans who would side with these Democrats when the Republicans had the power, whether it was with ANWR or offshore drilling in FL.
it has no chance of getting in, already the loonies out there are saying the fish are going to get caught in it.
Some idiots will oppose any attempt on energy progress because of possible harm to [pick a warm and fuzzy animal]. Even if the energy is considered renewable (wind, tidal, hydro, etc.).