Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Senate Candidates Call For "Apollo Project" for Energy Independence

Al Franken speaking to a full house at St. Olaf on Tuesday evening.

Al Franken and Mike Ciresi, both seeking to step into Norm Coleman's U.S. Senate seat, share a metaphor for what needs to happen to remove our dependence on foreign oil and move to cleaner, renewable energy sources. Both men -- and other candidates and policy organizations around the nation -- call for the energy equivalent of the Apollo space project that put humans on the moon within a dozen years of the Russians' launching of Sputnik, the first satellite, 50 years ago. As Franken's website says,

This “Apollo project” should provide financial support for research into new forms of renewable energy and development of currently-identified sources to make them more efficient. Of course I’m talking about corn ethanol. But I’m also talking about cellulosic ethanol and other biofuels. I’m talking about solar power. And, especially here in Minnesota, I’m talking about wind power. We live in a windy state!

It’s going to be a huge project, but it will pay off in so many ways:

  • We’ll dramatically improve our environment.
  • We’ll finally be taking steps to address global warming.
  • We’ll make our nation more secure and less dependent on an uncertain global fuel economy.
  • We’ll revitalize our manufacturing sector. The Ford plant in St. Paul that’s closing down should be making wind turbines, and we should be putting them up all over Minnesota.
  • We’ll create high-tech, high-paying jobs in conservation and R&D.
Ciresi's site says:

We must fund the initial investment by redirecting subsidies paid to the highly profitable oil and gas companies. The 2005 Energy Bill provided billions of dollars to the largest oil and gas firms in our country. These special interests have a stranglehold on our nation through record prices, record profits and at the same time, an undeserved share of our tax dollars. Subsidies for the rich do nothing to change our dependence on foreign oil or our need for rural revitalization. Investing in local farmers and universities does create positive change. ...

As your U.S. Senator I will:

  • Invest in clean energy technologies such as wind, solar, ethanol, and biomass.
  • Bring America to energy independency by 2020 by creating an Apollo-type project. By investing in energy efficiency technology, investing in “green buildings” that are energy efficient, creating tougher mileage standards and investing in alternative fuels to power our automobiles we can reach that goal.
  • Create a tax system that gives entrepreneurs and businesses incentives to develop clean energy technologies.
I'm no fan of Norm Coleman's, but he is a co-sponsor of the bipartisan Dependence Reduction through Innovation in Vehicles and Energy Act (DRIVE Act). More information about his views on energy independence can be read on his campaign website.

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