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the missing platform
how bush missed his legacy
by john hauck
10.2.03
news

Gas is in the news again. OPEC announced it plans to reduce the amount of oil it produces. Over the summer, the price of gas climbed over $2/gallon for the first time in thirty years. Late last winter the country launched “Operation GetridofWMDsfreetheIraqipeopletopple
theevildictatorfreethepeopledestroytheWMDs” in part to obtain more favorable oil contracts in Iraq. Even before the Iraq war, 20% of the $375 billion military budget went to troops deployed in countries with oil interests. There is no escaping the level of America’s addiction to foreign fossil fuels.

And yet, there is little dialogue of reforming American energy policy. The September 11th attacks should have been a wake up call. They should have spurred at least an examination of the role oil dependence plays on the politics and actions taken by America. The opportunity for change was ripe. People were lined up, trying to do something to help the country. Imagine the President in his post 9/11 State of the Union, announcing a Declaration of Energy Independence.

The first step would be to increase the amount of people who commute via carpool or mass transit system. That would conserve vast amounts of fuel. Conservation is the second largest form of fuel. The second step would be to push legislation requiring automakers to improve the fuel efficiency of their vehicles every year. This is technology they currently possess, but choose not to utilize. The fact that home appliances are 40% more efficient than they were 20 years ago, yet automobiles are 6% LESS efficient than they were 15 years ago is a disgrace. The third step, and this is the key to the declaration, would be a large investment in research and development of renewable energy systems (solar, wind, hydraulic, and biomass). Imagine him telling us that while 2% of the nation’s energy will come from renewable sources in 2004, by 2010 that number would climb to 20% and by 2020 that number would be close to 50%. The fact that these energy plants would create jobs in every region of the country certainly wouldn’t hurt.

This President did none of those things. He told us to keep driving, keep shopping, and keep spending. He encouraged us to live the way we had, because that was the American way. The problem is that way desperately needs to change. Hopefully whoever replaces him next year will have the vision and the courage to lead the country towards energy self-reliance.


ABOUT JOHN HAUCK



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COMMENTS

matt morin
10.3.03 @ 11:56a

See, this is way too smart for Bush to actually do. Plus, he's a good 'ol oil boy. The last thing he wants is for all his oil buddies to make less money.

dathan wood
10.7.03 @ 6:57p

Bush is too stuck in the "right now" and the past. He isn't capable of seeing into the future on this sort of issue and yes, renewable energy will hurt his personal finances. He's been very quick to prove that his presidency is all about his own agenda and getting himself and his friends rich along the way. Simply put, the guy's a tool.



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