Four prominent members of the U.S. Congress have made urgent pleas for
a strong effort by the U.S. to achieve energy independence.
On December 19, 2002, Congressman Jay Inslee had an
in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer calling for a "New Apollo Project."
...Congress should seize the moment to champion a unified and highly
prioritized national program to fulfill America's destiny of leading the
world to a new clean energy future. We should call for a total national
commitment to harness the genius of America's can-do attitude that would
design, invent and deploy the new clean energy technologies that befit
this new century.
No single national endeavor has such capacity to expand our economy by
tapping our innate and unique technological genius for innovation. No
single national priority is so critical to reduce the risks from impending
man made climate change. No single non-military action can be as effective
in avoiding the security challenges that haunt us due to our addiction
to Mideast oil.
Now the laws of economics, the laws of physics and the laws of politics
all are aligned in a possible perfect storm, allowing us to inspire the
nation to achievement just as grand as John F. Kennedy's challenge to
the nation in 1961 to put a man on the moon.
Then, the day before President Bush's 2003 State of the Union address,
Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) released a
to "develop alternatives that don't leave us so reliant on other
Senator John Kerry (D-MA) gave a
at the John F. Kennedy Library on February 11, 2003, urging
an energy policy grounded in renewables:
We need a new, bold initiative -- in the spirit of the Apollo moon-landing
project -- this time focused on breaking our country's dependence on
Middle East Oil. . . .
We need to take steps now to increase our energy independence and energy
security. We need to find other ways to power our transportation sector,
the fastest growing user of energy in this country.
Converting America's automobile fleet to fuel cell vehicles isn't
something that is going to happen overnight, but it's never going happen
if we don't dedicate the necessary resources and make it a priority.
If we make the decision to aggressively pursue fuel cell technologies
now, we'll be able to pole vault over current technology and transform
our energy future.
And the good news is our progress in technology and the lessons
of the past three decades, have taught us that cleaning up the
environment will strengthen not weaken our economy. We need to
push back on the scaremongering which falsely portrays pollution
as the price of prosperity. We don't have to choose between jobs
and the environment. Protecting the environment is jobs - the
high value added jobs of the future. This is not pie-in-the-sky,
tree hugging, do-gooder environmental day dreaming. This is real.
It's happening in pioneering efforts across the country and
across the globe. It awaits our leadership. ...
We know if we invest in new technologies we can build cars and
SUVs that are twice and three times as efficient as today - and
one day a car that relies on no oil at all. And a company that
may help build that car can be found right there in Cambridge;
it's called Nuvera Fuel Cells and it's putting fuel cell
components in prototype cars today. ...
And today the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
Local 103 is taking the lead by training technicians in the
maintenance and installation of solar. Minnesota now requires
that a percentage of its electricity be generated from the wind,
and family farmers have gone into the power business. In
Woodstock, Minnesota, Richard and Roger Kas have built 17 wind
turbines on their land, creating enough electricity to power more
than 2,000 homes. Other farmers are literally growing renewable
fuels in their fields which will bring warmth and light to our
For Americans who work in engineering, design, and
industry, the growth of wind, solar and geothermal can spark an
unprecedented surge in production. And since developing new
energy technologies is a research-driven, pathbreaking activity,
a commitment to it will yield thousands and ultimately hundreds
of thousands of well-paying new jobs. The machines of renewable
energy will be made of steel, aluminum and glass. They will be
machined, manufactured, distributed and maintained.
On February 19, 2003, Congressman Dick Gephardt
his candidacy for
President of the United States. In his speech he offered the following
thoughts on energy policy:
I've got news for the President, the Vice President and the oil
companies they used to run: there is no path to oil
self-sufficiency. We can't drill our way there, no matter how
many public lands we despoil; two-thirds of the world's oil is in
the Persian Gulf, and only three percent of it is here in
America. And that's not going to change.
There's a new way. Industry is already working toward totally
hydrogen-powered cars that get better gas mileage, at a lower
price without using a single drop of oil. So what are we waiting
for? The next spike in oil prices? The next gasoline crisis? The
next terrible attack on our country? President Bush gave us 30
seconds of rhetoric on this topic in his State of the Union
address, but the way he's cut back efforts to promote alternative
energy, we wouldn't make a dent in the problem for 30 years.
As President, I'll launch an aggressive new Apollo Project -- to
work with industry to achieve true energy independence within ten
years. We'll make energy-efficient products cheaper and more
widely available by giving businesses tax cuts to make them, and
by giving families tax cuts to buy them. If we don't do this now
-- if we don't appeal to common sense, and our common cause as
Americans -- we'll be at the mercy of the terrorists and the oil
barons for the rest of our lives.