An energy bill that will give the United States a stronger position in the booming alternative energy industry and reduce U.S. dependence on imported oil has been introduced by Sens. John Kerry of Massachusetts and Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut.
The 987-page bill affects such a large number of energy-related businesses even its supporters doubt it will become law this year.
Budget-conscious critics will challenge the subsidies offered to the nuclear power industry and to the production of energy produced by solar, wind and other alternative sources. Engineers will question whether it can ever be cost-effective to capture and sequester carbon dioxide produced in coal-burning power plants.
These objections will be met by Kerry, Lieberman and their supporters by saying:
— The U.S. remains dependent — at enormous cost — on oil from other nations, most of which don’t share our political values or international goals.
— Millions of jobs can be created in the United States in the clean energy industry if U.S. energy policy encourages that development. As it is today, U.S. scientific research is being used by manufacturers in other countries to dominate the solar energy industry and excel in wind power technology.
— Subsidies are needed to build nuclear power plants and to encourage the use of natural gas as a transportation fuel, but these technologies offer the greatest opportunities to become energy independent in the near-term future. Greatly expanding the production of nuclear power is the only way to reduce the production of carbon dioxide, the primary greenhouse gas, while maintaining the production of electricity at necessary levels.
The Kerry-Lieberman bill should be made law. Not because it is perfect, but because it is a positive step. It recognizes problems and offers solutions. It moves the nation off the dime on one of the most pressing issues of our time.
— Emerson Lynn, jr.