DC, August 9, 2004 (ENS): Democratic presidential
nominee John Kerry outlined a 10 year, $30 billion energy
plan on Friday and said the proposal will "put
America on the path to energy independence and create
hundreds of thousands of new jobs at the same time."
Kerry's plan centers on increased support for renewable
energy and for alternative motor fuels made from corn
and soybeans, as well as incentives for clean coal technology
and for more fuel efficient cars and trucks.
"We can control our own destiny, we can create
the jobs of tomorrow and we can make sure that no young
American in uniform will ever be held hostage to our
dependence on oil from the Middle East," Kerry
told supporters in Kansas City, Missouri.
Kerry's remarks came at the end of a week that saw
oil prices soar to a near record high of almost $45
The Democratic presidential nominee blamed the Bush
administration for making the nation more dependent
on foreign oil and for not taking action to aid consumers
and business feeling the pinch from rising oil prices.
The nation's reliance on foreign oil has risen from
58.2 percent in 2000 to 61.7 percent today, according
to the Kerry campaign, with roughly a quarter of America's
oil supply coming from the Middle East.
"It does not have to be this way," Kerry
said. "America will be safer and freer when the
resources that fuel our economy are in our hands and
when we develop new energy sources in our country."
The proposal calls for the creation of a $20 billion
Energy Security and Conservation Trust fund, capitalized
with existing federal offshore oil and gas revenues,
in order to provide a guaranteed funding stream for
The trust fund would be used to meet dual goals, to
be met by 2020, of ensuring 20 percent of the nation's
motor fuel and electricity come from renewable energy
The proposal earmarks $5 billion for a clean fuels
partnership to research fuels from agricultural waste
and includes support for increased production of ethanol,
a fuel made from corn,
It provides $10 billion to help U.S. automakers develop
and manufacture more fuel efficient vehicles, as well
as $5 billion in consumer tax credits, including $5,000
tax credits to buy cars and trucks that guzzle less
"We will put in place the tax incentives and joint
venture efforts that help us build an independent fuel
base for America," Kerry said.
There is little doubt the plan is ambitious - the U.S.
Energy Department says that today only 1.5 percent of
the nation's motor fuel comes from alternative sources
and some six percent of the nation's electricity comes
It also mirrors several things the Bush administration
has strongly supported, including increased natural
gas drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and the construction
of a pipeline to bring natural gas from Canada and Alaska
to the Lower 48 states.
The Kerry plan also includes $10 billion for clean
coal technology research and support for additional
research into hydrogen energy - two things the Bush
administration has touted and supported.
Kerry's proposal includes support for nuclear power,
but not for the plan to build a federal nuclear waste
repository in Nevada's Yucca Mountain - something the
Bush administration strongly favors.
The Democratic nominee recommends creating a National
Academies advisory panel to determine how best to deal
with the nation's nuclear waste.
Kerry opposes the aggressive domestic oil and gas drilling
on public lands favored by the Bush administration,
including the opening of the Arctic National Wildlife
The Bush campaign says Kerry's plan differs little
from what the White House has proposed or is already
Much of the plan, Bush supporters say, could be closer
to reality if Kerry and his running mate John Edwards
had voted for the energy bill that has stalled in the
Republicans have failed to muster the 60 votes needed
to force a vote on the bill, which has passed the House
of Representatives three times.
The energy bill contains the mandatory electric transmission
reliability standards Kerry supports, as well as provisions
that increase ethanol production and extend renewable
energy tax credits.
"John Kerry obstructed the President's comprehensive
energy plan which had bipartisan support, including
its provisions for renewable energy, conservation and
energy development that would reduce our dependence
on foreign oil," said Steve Schmidt, Bush-Cheney
'04 Spokesman. "Now he is proposing policies he
worked to block."
But the energy bill contains billions of dollars of
tax subsidies for the oil, gas and nuclear industries,
as well as a controversial liability exemption for manufacturers
of the fuel additive methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE),
an oxygenate that makes fuel burn cleaner. MTBE leaks
into groundwater from fuel storage tanks, contaminating
water supplies with a foul smell and taste.
Sarah Bianchi, the Kerry campaign's national policy
director, told reporters Friday that the energy bill
has been "held hostage" by the MTBE provision.
The Kerry campaign also said they have figured out
how to pay for their $30 billion plan.
Kerry said the proposal would be more than offset by
some $16 billion in savings from increased energy efficiency
use across the federal government and by $18 billion
through the reauthorization of the Superfund polluter
tax levied on industries to help clean up the nation's
most hazardous waste sites.
Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2004. All