Senator Richard Lugar Drives A Prius - Might Be a TreeHugger

US Senator Richard Luger, R-Indiana recently presented a fascinating speech on energy security and conservation, featuring some of our favorite fuel alternatives. Here are the most TreeHugger-relevant parts of the lengthy transcript. First, from the moderator's introduction: "...I was very interested to see him [Senator Lugar] drive up, a few minutes ago, in a Prius hybrid. So he is part of the solution to this problem in many different respects." Now from the body of his speech: -- "... my message is that the balance of realism has passed from those who argue on behalf of oil and a laissez faire energy policy that relies on market evolution, to those who recognize that in the absence of a major reorientation in the way we get our energy, life in America is going to be much more difficult in the coming decades"..."We have entered a different energy era that requires a much different response than in past decades. What is needed is an urgent national campaign, led by a succession of presidents and Congresses, who will ensure that American ingenuity and resources are fully committed to this problem."" the time a sustained energy crisis fully motivates the market, we are likely to be well past the point where we can save ourselves. Our motivation will come too late, and the resulting investment will come too slowly to prevent the severe economic and security consequences of our oil dependence. This is the very essence of a problem requiring government action. The first step is to admit how grave the problem is. Hopefully, we will look back on President Bush's declaration that America is "addicted to oil" as a seminal moment in American history, when a U.S. president said something contrary to expectations and thereby stimulated change."

..."Expanded programs to enhance energy efficiency in appliances, building construction, and industry, are all necessary to keep our energy intensity declining."

..."Long-term energy security also requires the use of clean energy, a third component of energy security. As long as we continue to consume fuels that do not burn clearly, or cannot have their damaging gases sequestered, we will continue to pay environmental costs and will remain vulnerable to a climate change-induced disaster."

..."There is still more work to be done to tilt our energy balance toward alterative fuels. That is why Senator Obama and I will soon introduce a new bill that will promote other means to move these fuels into additional markets and make them widely available. Among many provisions, the Obama-Lugar bill would create an alternative diesel standard, comparable to the renewable fuels standard that I helped put into the 2005 energy bill."

From the Q&A; session after the speech:

...Fourteen percent of our corn, last year in Indiana, was used for ethanol. People say 14 percent? One-seventh of the entire crop? As a matter of fact, we are now exporting, as a nation, less corn than we are putting into E85, into ethanol, and that will be 20 percent of the crop by the end of this year and it could go onward and upward, which leads to other issues".

If you're intrigued, we think it would be worthwhile for you to read the entire speech.

No tipping point is in sight yet for the rest of our Senators; but, it sure is good to see one drive a hybrid. And, it's especially good to see Senator Lugar talk about sponsoring more incentives for biodiesel (we think that's what was meant by "alternative diesel") with his across-the-aisle, next-to-his-home-state colleague. A few months back we posted a story about some Republican State Congressmen who seem to think similarly about conservation. Only one state away! Could it be a movement?