POST-GAZETTE - Res Publica

Sensible Energy Policy for America

by David Trumbull

September 19, 2008

With the high, and likely rising, costs of fuel for transportation, home heating, and the running of industry, it’s time we look seriously at potential energy source for the American economy.

Oil. We must access the oil we have by increased drilling. That includes Oil Shale, ANWR and Offshore. Strategically, we need to increase our refining capacity.

Clean Coal. This resource can carry a large part of the electrical generation needs and we must continue to use it extensively.

Natural Gas. In addition to power generation, as an interim measure, natural gas can be also used as fuel for our cars. It is a resource we are rich in.

Nuclear. We must increase nuclear power use. Not only can we use it here, but it is also an outstanding potential export. Land based U.S. technology nuclear plants need to be exported to help reduce worldwide demand for oil. Nuclear power barges (like the Army's Sturgis) show how we can create, sell and deploy nuclear power while still maintaining control of the technology.

Solar. This technology has made advances that can reduce fossil fuel consumption on a local household and business level.

Wind. Wind energy is an outstanding American opportunity. In the Rockies and on the coast of Massachusetts, wind is a money-maker. We can build wind turbines here in our abandoned industrial base, providing much needed good manufacturing jobs as we reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Cities and towns are using wind power for their schools and municipal buildings reducing need for fossil fuels and saving taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars annually in fuel costs in their communities.

Hydroelectric and tidal energy. These sources are underexploited—particularly tidal. Advances in these technologies will soon harness ocean and tidal currents to supplement rivers and relieve our dependence on foreign oil. Here too, we have the potential for new, good paying, manufacturing jobs.

“We must control our own destiny, our own future,” says our GOP candidate for U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, Jeff Beatty. Everyone understands that the world is a volatile place and we cannot rely on foreign suppliers of energy. Unfortunately, many among the Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate recognize the problem but are unwilling—or too beholden to narrow, extremist special interests—to do what we must do to become more self reliant. Bay State voters in November can decide—do we want more talk, talk, talk out of Washington, or do we want a change to a sensible energy policy not just for tomorrow, but for the next 20 or more years it will take to bridge the gap to advanced hydrogen cars and other new technologies?

[David Trumbull is the chairman of the Boston Ward Three Republican Committee. Boston's Ward Three includes the North End, West End, part of Beacon Hill, downtown, waterfront, Chinatown, and part of the South End.]