As an executive, strategy planner and chemical engineer, I am tired of listening to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s and President Bush’s disconnected, politically motivated speeches on energy initiatives that serve no coherent purpose towards diminishing America’s reliance on imported oil and natural gas.
The Republicans and Democrats have done nothing but propose partisan, myopic, self-serving and incongruent actions for building an energy policy over the past 20 years for the United States. We have to stop coddling voters and make some sagacious sacrifices, investments and policies that will change habits and displace nonrenewable energy dependencies over the long term.
Here is a concurrent six step plan that I believe could rid this monkey off our back over the next several years:
1) The Republicans need to allow a substantial penalty for car manufacturers that sell cars in America that do not achieve 30 mpg. Increase the penalty over time.
2) The Democrats need to accommodate environmentalists less and allow more exploration and production in the US. For the environmentalists and our own interests, the Republicans should permit the establishment of large escrow funds and summary judgments for drillers/producers in environmentally sensitive areas.
3) Cut the red tape on nuclear plants and windmills. The environmentalists are inconsistent in these areas. Add escrow funds and summary judgments as in #2.
4) Impose a $2 per gallon tax on gasoline/diesel to encourage a change of habits by consumers. Give a 100 percent tax credit for any family with less than $60,000 household income the first year, 80 percent for the second year, etc. If consumers, companies and municipalities have not implemented solutions or subsidies for more efficient commuting within five years (e.g., relocation, rapid transit, commute
sharing, home work), then commuters deserve to pay for their indiscretions. Money goes to pay U.S. debt.
5) Forget ethanol and subsidize hydrogen vehicles, windmills, geothermal, tidewater, solar, fuel cell and other renewable technologies.
6) Impose a monthly tax on electricity, heating oil and natural gas for use beyond an approximate level used by a 4,000 square foot house with a family of four in a Northeast climate. To use more energy means your wealthy enough or elected to have a large house or family that uses a substantially higher level of energy.
I am both an engineer and a believer in freedom of choice in democratic capitalism. I also believe in consequences and policies to encourage desired behavior free of partisanship over time. These six policies construct an integrated, objective set for the achievement of energy independence for America.
We use multiples of oil per capita relative to Europe where they have imposed heavy taxes on petrol for decades even though they are elected officials. The result in Europe has been rapid transit, nuclear energy (France), vehicles that achieve high gas economies and significantly lower oil consumption. European voters have never complained since they looked to the long time challenges of society rather than their own petty selfishness.
It is imperative that the Republicans and Democrats stop playing politics with our energy policies and seek a strategy solution that serves our long term goal. To do otherwise keeps the United States hostage to OPEC manipulation, Middle East politics, Russian gamesmanship, small dictator antics, federal debt and relative negative economic growth. Can we possibly remain that shallow?
Harvey N. Gillis
Sunrise Capital Corp.