Working to decrease America’s dependence on foreign energy
Column by Bob Goodlatte
Each week, folks across the Sixth District and the nation are confronted with the rising cost of energy, from the gas pump to their electric and gas bills. Energy is vital to every sector of the U.S. economy, including homes, small businesses and industries. When energy supplies are tight, families and businesses are severely impacted by the resulting increase in energy costs.
The Congress needs to act but it has been pushing energy policy in the wrong direction. Recently, I voted against legislation passed by the House of Representatives that includes $21 billion in tax increases on producers of American energy here at home. These tax increases will send good-paying jobs overseas and further increase our dangerous dependence on foreign oil. Even more shocking, the legislation provides an exemption for the Venezuelan oil giant, CITGO, just as Venezuela’s dictator Hugo Chavez is threatening to cut off energy supplies to the U.S.
While the legislation does include good provisions, such as tax credits to encourage solar and wind-energy production and tax incentives to make energy-efficiency improvements to homes and businesses, its overall effect will be to increase America’s dependence on foreign sources of energy. To move America toward energy independence, we need a comprehensive and strategic plan that increases the supply, security and diversity of American energy and puts real alternative fuel sources in the hands of consumers to lower costs.
We must diversify our energy supplies with alternative fuels, including renewable energy from our farms and forests, but we must do so without the government mandates and subsidies that are today driving the cost of food and animal feed up as we produce more ethanol from corn. We should develop a renewable policy where the government incentivizes the development of new technologies but does not mandate the use of any particular fuel like corn-based ethanol which drives up costs for consumers.
Further, in promoting green energy, we should encourage the production of more nuclear power, which provides CO2 emission-free energy. We generate only 20 percent of our energy from this clean technology. France produces nearly 80 percent of its electricity from nuclear power.
Abundant and affordable energy and energy conservation are the keys to a strong economy. Until alternative fuel technology becomes more affordable and convenient, our cars, our jobs and our economic growth will run on traditional energy sources, like oil, natural gas and clean burning coal. We should encourage environmentally sound ways to find and use more of these resources in our own country.
I will continue working to promote proposals that will seek to lessen our reliance on foreign energy, and allow us to become energy independent. We need to support policies that will encourage promotion of exploration, innovation, and conservation and lower energy prices for consumers, to make America stronger.
Bob Goodlatte represents Virginia’s Sixth Congressional District in the United States Congress. Contact him at www.house.gov/goodlatte/emailbob.htm.