Senator Maria Cantwell, from the great state of Washington, delivered this week's Democratic Party radio address, and in it she puts out the call to Congress to pass an energy policy that also addresses America's national security and economic needs, and calls on President Bush to deliver on his State of the Union promise. [html | audio stream | audio download]
"Hello this is Senator Maria Cantwell from the State of Washington. All it takes is one trip to the gas station to realize Americans face an energy crisis and it's getting worse ever day. We are paying more at the pump for a gallon of gas and Americans deserve to go further on a tank of gasoline.
"Clean energy should be more than just a slick marketing campaign from oil companies in a TV commercial. Instead, Congress needs to take America's hope for clean energy plan and turn it into reality.
"Americans do want cars that get a hundred miles per gallon. They could be in production today. And Americans want cars that can run on alternative fuel. There are millions of them today, but just in another country. And Americans wants to see the federal government using energy more efficiently and saving tax payers billions of dollars. That too could be happening today.
"The next chapter in America's energy story needs to be less about record oil profits and more about the fairness for the American consumer. America's strength lies in our ability to invent new and better ways of doing things. The challenge we face now is transforming America's energy policy - one that is well over 50 years old, and too reliant of fossil fuel - to one that will make America a global leader again in energy technology and get us off our over-dependence on foreign oil. Congress should stare down special interests in Washington, D.C. and take our energy policy in a new direction.
"But right now, high gas prices are hitting us hard. They cost us jobs, and every time oil goes up 10 percent, we lose almost 150,000 American jobs. Those high prices also make it impossible for small businesses to get by. America's heartland, already operating on razor-thin margins, is spending more on fuel and fertilizer than some farmers can make by selling their crops.
"Because of our dependence on oil, America is forced to do business with unstable countries instead of investing in America's farmers and innovators. And experts say we just have 10-15 years to start reversing global warming.
"We want to keep more energy dollars in America's pocketbook. That's why last week Senate Democrats began working to pass our bipartisan energy bill. We are working to make cars and trucks go further on a gallon of gas and making sure we get more from the light, heat, and water we already use. By improving energy efficiency, our bill can save Americans billions of dollars every year. Democrats also plan to eliminate billions of dollars in tax breaks to big oil interests and invest them instead in clean, renewable energy. Combined with our goal to produce at least 15 percent of our energy from alternative sources, we can make huge strides in reducing our dependence on fossil fuel.
"America deserves more fuel-efficient cars and the President called for more miles per gallon in his State of the Union, and Democratic leaders support that. But the only way consumers are going to get more out of a tank of gas is if the President and his party help deliver votes in a narrowly divided Congress. We all remember Enron, and when electricity markets were manipulated, natural gas markets have been manipulated. And crude oil markets are now under investigation. After Katrina, a number of states and the Federal Trade Commission found evidence of price-gouging. And that is why a strong law is needed to say that the manipulation of supply and demand to drive up gas prices is wrong and is a federal crime.
"Our energy crisis will not be solved over night, but this Democratic plan is an important step. If you want a new direction in America's energy policy, call Congress, call the President, and tell them to support this new, clean-energy direction. This is Senator Maria Cantwell from the State of Washington wishing you all a wonderful weekend."
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