Let’s Go On Offense.
There is no single issue with political and human ramifications as broad as energy independence, nor is there any one issue which puts as much at stake for American voters and interests. Our current energy policy endangers America’s national security, environmental safety and public health, while also leaving consumers out to dry.
There’s a reason why consumers see gas and utility prices go up year after year, while energy companies post record profits. It’s the same reason why we let Saudi oil kingpins influence our foreign policy, while at the same time looking for ways to drill in our own wildlife preserves. The same reason we see market-rigging like the Enron scandal followed up by additional deregulation…
We all know that the reason mentioned above is our failure to craft a cogent national energy policy. Voters all over the US–and especially in Western states–are beginning to learn this as well. Let’s make sure they do so on OUR terms…
[More below the fold]
[This begins a series of Frontier PAC diaries intended to help develop our aggressive Democratic branding narrative for 2006.]
1. We Have the Technology NOW.
So, to put it simply, the problem is politics.
When thinking about American energy policy in terms of a “national greatness” project, it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that we need to develop new technologies or cultivate new markets for renewable energy to be viable. In Western states–and nationally, in aggregate–this is entirely untrue. According to a seminal study by the Union of Concerned Scientists, Oregon, Montana, and Nevada–to name just a few–could each produce more than 400% of the energy they currently consume with cheaply available, commecrcally viable windfarm technology.
2. The Oil Companies Own Congress.
Since 1990, multinational oil companies have given $100 million to Republican lawmakers. And it’s not surprising that the Congress they’ve bought has failed to deliver Americans a sound energy policy.
In fact, our current energy policy, with increased oil and coal subsidies paired with attacks on already scant federal budget allotments for renewable energy, is drastically subverting the will of the market: it is not cheaper or easier for us to rely on fossil fuels, and rigging our energy policy is becoming ever more important for those who that dismays.
3. A Smarter Energy Policy Will Put Big $ Into Rural America.
Simply enacting a 20% renewable energy standard would save American consumers over $27 billion dollars–and that’s just on utility bills (see the study linked above). Building and maintaining renewable energy facilities will create hundreds of thousands of family-wage jobs and pour tax revenues into rural counties and municipalities. The best part is that the West will lead: Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Arizona–these are states which currently rank among the poorest in the nation, but their abundance of renewable energy resources means that they’ll be the center of the innovation and economic growth created by a bold and intelligent energy policy.
Energy policy sheds significant light on the underlying values driving each party and serves to bring exceptional clarity to the choice facing voters. It’s obvious: Republicans serve the interests of oil companies, while Democrats fight for families, small businesses, jobs and conservation.
But we can’t make this argument without the right candidates. It comes down to choosing populism over big corporations. This fight isn’t for Democrats who covet campaign dollars from big oil, nor is it for Democrats who are afraid to take a swipe at the GOP’s corporate jugular. But for Democrats with the courage to spare voters any added bullshit, it’s a fight with a major prize.
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