Bob Graham Opines on the New Energy Bill

Good commentary this morning on NPR from former Senator Bob Graham (D-Fla.) about the new energy bill approved by the Senate this morning. The bill, which calls for an increase in domestic energy production from clean coal, oil, nuclear and wind sources, offers subsidies to encourage more domestic drilling for oil and natural gas, construction of nuclear power plants and expansion of energy transmission systems nationwide. That's all well and good, says Graham, but what about when our domestic oil sources run dry?He argues that the bill misses a major opportunity to cut petroleum further out of the equation: "The missing link [in the bill] is the will-power to take control of our petroleum future. There is another approach." Though the bill was written to have a strong short-term impact (five to ten years from now), Graham thinks the bill missed the boat with respect to the timeline. "We could establish 75 years as the goal [for oil independence]. To meet that goal, we would have to reduce domestic production, not increase it. This reduction would be a powerful force to accelerate conservation measures and the development of alternative energy sources. It would mean increasing the efficiency of our motor vehicles and expanding public transportation, and, yes, it would mean an increase share of foreign oil."

Graham goes on to say that we could cap our foreign oil demands where they are now (about 13 million barrels per day) through conservation, and though it certainly wouldn't be easy, "It would challenge the current generation of Americans to reexamine our individual lives and take charge of our future, but our children and our grandchildren will be pleased if we do." ::NPR