Former Governor and current U.S. Senate candidate Mark R. Warner of Old Town has announced a broad range of innovative proposals and reforms to lower gasoline prices and promote the nation’s economy and long-term security by aggressively working to develop a national energy plan.
Warner announced his energy solutions during a meeting of the Greater Richmond Technology Council and the Venture Forum held at the Science Museum of Virginia in Richmond. Spokesman Kevin Hall said that Warner’s proposals offer near-term relief for consumers, and include intermediate and longer-range strategies that he said would create jobs, protect national security and combat global warming.
“Every American president since Richard Nixon – Democrat and Republican alike – has told our nation that our reliance on foreign oil jeopardizes our national security,” Warner said. “But like so many of the tough problems we face, Washington has not acted. Instead of progress, we’ve gotten partisanship and delay.”
Warner said the United States holds about two percent of the world’s oil reserves but uses 25 percent of the world’s oil. The world’s largest concentration of proven oil reserves is located in the Middle East, making America’s long-term reliance on foreign oil an economic and national security threat.
In a statement released by his campaign, Warner said his energy proposals would:
-Clamp-down on market speculators who have artificially driven-up the price of oil on foreign-based markets, out-of-reach of U.S. regulators;
-Apply more pressure on oil-producing nations, particularly nations belonging to OPEC, to increase production, while granting the U.S. Justice Department new tools to investigate and bring enforcement action against companies or countries that collude to drive-up the price of oil;
-Bring market-based commonsense to the federal government’s use of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, so deposits increase when prices are low and deposits slow or stop when prices rise;
-Promote increased telecommuting and optional, flexible work schedules, such as four-day/ten-hour work weeks, to reduce driving demand.
According to the statement, Warner’s energy proposals also include ideas to expand the U.S. energy portfolio within the next few years, and over the long-term, by:
-A number of U.S. automakers, including GM, plan to bring to market 100 mile-per-gallon hybrids or plug-in hybrid vehicles within the next two years. Governor Warner calls for expanding tax incentives for consumers to purchase hybrid vehicles, and vehicles that use promising new advanced battery technology (from the current approximately $3,000 credit up to $5,000), both based on a fuel efficiency sliding-scale. Enhancing these incentives would cost substantially less over a ten-year period than the $17 billion in tax subsidies awarded to oil and gas companies through the Energy Policy Act of 2005;
-Working cooperatively with U.S. automakers to raise fuel efficiency standards to at least 40 miles-per-gallon;
-Working with the petroleum industry to upgrade and expand domestic refining capacity, which has not markedly increased in this country in more than 30 years;
-Supporting responsible limits on carbon emissions, commonly called “cap-and-trade” proposals, a concept that’s supported by both major presidential candidates;
-Significantly increasing research and development on alternative energy technology, including solar, wind, bio-fuels (not corn-based ethanol), nuclear, “clean-coal”, batteries, “smart grid” technology, and other clean energy sources;
-Making the R&D tax credit for renewable energy permanent, to at least level the playing field in relation to tax advantages given to oil.
“We have it in our power right now to fundamentally change how we power our country and our economy – to break our addiction to foreign oil – and to create a nation that is more secure and more prosperous,” Warner said. “It is time that we reach for a bipartisan consensus on a real set of solutions, and get busy developing a sound U.S. energy strategy for this century and the next.”
Source: Warner for Senate campaign