June 17, 2008: Energy Security
The Straightest, Swiftest Path
To Energy Security


On June 17, Senator McCain went to Houston, Texas, to give a speech about energy security to a friendly audience composed of energy company executives. Liberal environmentalists snickered, but McCain offered mostly reasonable and well-grounded observations about the country's need to both conserve and to develop existing supplies of oil and natural gas. This is a partial transcript of that speech.

 

energy-security-speechAmong its other distinctions, this great city is known as the oil capital of America. But people in Houston and all of Texas understand as well as anyone that the high price of oil and gas today is causing great harm all across our economy. People are hurting,

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mccain-energy-security-speechMuch of the world's oil supply is controlled by states, regimes, and a cartel for which America's well being is not exactly a priority. Many occupy a violent part of the world -- a region all the more violent for the influence of oil wealth. Their opinion of America runs the full spectrum from indifference to hatred. And yet these regimes are today the masters of the oil market.

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The next president must be willing to break with the energy policies not just of the current Administration, but the administrations that preceded it, and lead a great national campaign to achieve energy security for America. So in the days ahead I plan to return to the subject in a series of discussions to explain my reform agenda. And I will set forth a strategy to free America once and for all from our strategic dependence on foreign oil.

<–snip–>

This is the overwhelming reason to develop our domestic energy supplies – not just to meet our needs, but to deprive our enemies of the means to harm us – to the extent that is possible.


We'll need the help of the Congress and Senate to break with old government energy policies. How that will happen with Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid in charge we have no idea. Both are hyper-partisan liberals who are utterly beholden to the environmentalist lobby.

energy-security-speechEnergy conservation is no longer just a moral luxury or a personal virtue. Conservation serves a critical national goal. Over time, we must shift our entire energy economy toward a sustainable mix of new and cleaner power sources. This will include some we use already, such as wind, solar, biofuels, and other sources yet to be invented. It will include a variety of new automotive and fuel technologies, clean-burning coal and nuclear energy.

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Quite rightly, I believe, we confer a special status on some areas of our country that are best left undisturbed. When America set aside the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, we called it a "refuge" for a reason.

But the stakes are high for our citizens and for our economy. And with gasoline running at more than four bucks a gallon, many do not have the luxury of waiting on the far-off plans of futurists and politicians. We have proven oil reserves of at least 21 billion barrels in the United States. But a broad federal moratorium stands in the way of energy exploration and production. And I believe it is time for the federal government to lift these restrictions and to put our own reserves to use.

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This is an admirable-sounding sentiment with some scary implications. It is easy to imagine the whole issue of energy security becoming a sort of all-purpose crowbar that governments at all levels will use to intrude into the private lives of citizens. It's already happening.

energy-security-speechWhat is certain in energy policy is that we have learned a few clear lessons along the way. Somehow all of them seem to have escaped my opponent. He says that high oil prices are not the problem, but only that they rose too quickly. He's doesn't support new domestic production. He doesn't support new nuclear plants. He doesn't support more traditional use of coal, either.

So what does Senator Obama support in energy policy? Well, for starters he supported the energy bill of 2005 -- a grab-bag of corporate favors that I opposed. And now he supports new taxes on energy producers. He wants a windfall profits tax on oil, to go along with the new taxes he also plans for coal and natural gas. If the plan sounds familiar, it's because that was President Jimmy Carter's big idea too -- and a lot of good it did us. Now as then, all a windfall profits tax will accomplish is to increase our dependence on foreign oil, and hinder exactly the kind of domestic exploration and production we need. I'm all for recycling -- but it's better applied to paper and plastic than to the failed policies of the 1970s.

<–snip–>

You can salute McCain for being willing to confront his Texas friends on the issue of ANWR if you like, but we can't help but lament how he's been hoodwinked by the environmental lobby and its misleading depictions of ANWR, and its knee-jerk opposition to oil drilling. Has McCain ever visited ANWR? Someone should take him. Someone should show him where the pretty parts are on the one hand and where we want to drill on the other.

At least McCain wants to drill on the OCS, so there is hope he can be shown the light on ANWR at some point.

Meanwhile, it's striking how indifferent Obama is to the hardship high energy prices inflict on the lower and middle classes. This is nothing new, by the way. When he was a state senator in Illinois, his constituents shivered in substandard public housing built by his buddy Rezko.

energy-security-speechAmerica's most vital interests call us to the mission of energy security, and so does our sense of honor. And the straightest, swiftest path to energy security is to produce more, use less, and find new sources of power -- so that no commodity can determine our security, and no crisis can undermine our economy.

This will require great ingenuity and resolve of the American people, and these are not in short supply. Americans like to say that there is no problem we can't solve, however complicated, and no obstacle we cannot overcome if we meet it together. I believe this about our country. I know this about our country. And now it is time to show those qualities once again.

The sheer reasonableness of McCain's statements are a wonder to behold – as are the fantasy-land remedies offered by Obama, who would have us pay dearly just to heat our homes and drive our cars – and wait for decades while the energy technologies he supports are developed.

 

Link to full text of speech

 

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