( – promoted by lowkell)
As one might expect the debate over what to do about high gasoline prices is raging on in Congress and among the media. This morning Congressman Randy Forbes sent out an online survey to constituents asking them to share their opinion on how America should achieve energy independence. Unfortunately, Congressman Forbes sent a slanted survey clearly favoring his fossil fuel agenda, and does not even have a form for constituents to actually share their opinions with him.
Here’s the text of Forbes’ survey:
With prices at the pump spiking to a national average of $3.51 a gallon, where should the United States focus its efforts to reach energy independence?
a) Explore renewable sources energy like wind, solar, and geothermal power.
b) Increase domestic oil drilling.
c) Engage in an “all of the above” approach that combines alternative sources of energy with traditional sources like oil and natural gas.
d) Impose “cap and trade” style restrictions that rely on taxing companies’ carbon emissions.
e) I am unsure.
Let’s quickly take a look at his choices:
Explore Renewable Energy
The term explore is an interesting one in option a. What Forbes is attempting to do is to suggest that renewable energy is not a viable alternative to fossil fuels. He fails to recognize that renewable energy is being developed all across the world, and America is falling behind. What he should have said was, “invest in renewable energy on an even par with fossil fuels.”
What would be an even par with fossil fuels? For starters, you’d either have to be willing to cut more than $40 billion in subsidies to the oil industry or give create a subsidy program for renewables. I personally would rather see a grant program for renewables where America’s entrepreneurs compete and the most innovative approach to renewable energy wins rather than the same old handout system the fossil fuel industry has relied on for all these years.
Increase Domestic Drilling
I discussed in my blog yesterday why this will not relieve any of our pain at the pump, but to quickly recap America does not have enough oil and it would take nearly two decades for our meager amount of oil to come to market. The result: approximately two cents in the bottom-line price of oil.
All of the Above
This is a favorite chant of Republicans. Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell should make this his middle name. It reminds me of what my 8th grade science teacher once said in class, “If you don’t know the answer just mark D for all of the above. You’re bound to get at least part of the question right.” Here’s a hint for proponents of this solution: just because you get part of the question right doesn’t mean the teacher’s going to give you credit for the whole answer.
The all-of-the-above strategy is a hoax. This is what mouthpieces for the coal, oil and gas industry want Americans to believe is the answer. But, here’s the problem. That same slanted playing field for coal, oil and gas that is slowing our development of renewable energy would remain under their scenario. To be frank, this is the scenario our country uses today. Unfortunately, the students in Congress mark energy efficiency off as an answer before they attempt the question.
“Cap and Trade” Restrictions
Once again, Randy Forbes decided it would be better to demonize attempts to tackle global warming than to explain what cap-and-trade would mean to American energy policy. What it would mean is that the playing field would be level for clean, renewable energy.
Utilities could choose to continue using fossil fuels which spew carbon in the air and simply pay a tax, or they could invest in carbon free technologies and sell credits to those utilities that chose not to invest in clean energy. It’s capitalism at its best. Reward the innovators and watch those with old technology get left in the dust.
It’s actually a pretty simple concept, but then again the kid who marked “all-of-the-above” on the exam probably didn’t do their homework to know the answer.
Maybe next time the Congressman will choose to have an open discussion with constituents rather than posting a misleading and often flat-out wrong survey on his website. At least that’s the type of leadership I expect from my elected officials.