George Allen: Energy Independence Key to Economic Recovery

Friday, 12 Jun 2009 04:37 PM

By Jim Meyers

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Former Virginia Governor and U.S. Senator George Allen tells Newsmax that America is at a "crossroads" regarding energy policy — and the government is the biggest impediment to energy independence.

Allen also said that implementing the cap and trade plan to reduce carbon emissions would be equivalent to "economic unilateral disarmament" by the United States.

Allen is the founder of the American Energy Freedom Center, which promotes increases in domestic coal, oil, and natural gas production. Newsmax.TV's Kathleen Walter asked him about that effort.

"What we want to do is educate and inform people," Allen said.

"I have a lot of faith in the American people if they know the facts about the resources we have under our water and under our land, including Indian lands, and realize that the impediment has been from the government that doesn't let us get after it.

"For example, most people probably know that America has abundant coal. We're the Saudi Arabia of the world when it comes to coal. It can be used for efficient and affordable electricity generation, but it also means a lot of jobs.

"There are some great initiatives that are coming not out of Washington but out of the states.

"We also need to empower people in the states, if they so desire, to explore for oil and natural gas off their coasts.

"Virginia's been trying to get out from under the federal moratorium for five years. We'd like to be able to explore for natural gas and share the revenues with the state. We could use that for building roads and transportation infrastructure. If Virginia were able to do it, I guarantee the Carolinas and Georgia would say, ‘Let's do the same thing in our states.’

"So right now in our country we're at a crossroads so far as energy policy. Either we're going to choose a future of abundant, affordable and reliable sources of American energy, or we're just going to continue down this road of expensive, imported and highly regulated energy.

"We have the resources. We need to promote positive, achievable goals. We also have to play tenacious defense against bad ideas."

Walter asked Allen, "What is wrong with the climate bill being offered by the Democrats?"

"I assume you're referring to this cap and tax scheme ... which would increase the cost of electricity, clothes, food, and fuel," Allen responded.

"The estimates are anywhere from $150 to $260 every month that people will have to pay in extra costs because of this cap and tax scheme.

"The more people know about it, the less they like it, and for good reason. It would really make the United States less competitive. It would hurt families. It would cause us to lose jobs.

"This type of a scheme was tried in Europe and it's been an absolute failure. Russia, China, India, they're not going to impose it on their countries, so in effect the United States would be declaring economic unilateral disarmament.

"This idea really needs to be stopped graveyard dead. And the key is for the American people to let their representatives know, 'No, we don't care to have our electricity bills go up by over $100 a month, and we don't want our natural gas bills and gasoline bills and food costs going up because of these pontificating elites and these sanctimonious social engineers.'"

Is domestic energy independence the key to economic recovery, Walter asked?

"It sure is," Allen declared. "Energy policy affects people in their homes. It affects jobs in our country. There are so many jobs related to coal … Natural gas is so important for manufacturing, and because of our high natural gas prices we have lost hundreds and thousands of manufacturing jobs — in plastics, fertilizers, tires, forestry products.

"Energy matters for our economic competitiveness, our jobs, our balance of trade, and also our national security. That's why at the Energy Freedom Center we feel that if people understand and talk about energy, not in the number of short tons or trillion cubic feet and so forth, but in ways that folks understand at their kitchen table, folks will realize, gosh, this is important for our way of life, for our economic competitiveness, for our jobs.

"And I think most Americans don't like to see us having be so vulnerable to countries that are somewhat hostile to us, and they're sick and tired of getting jerked around by these hostile dictators, cartels and oligarchs, when we'd like to see our country taking control of own destiny."

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