Candidates Talk about Energy Policy
Democrat U.S. Rep. Melissa Bean of Barrington is defending her 8th congressional district office, while Republican challenger David McSweeney, of Barrington Hills, and independent candidate Bill Scheurer, of Lindenhurst, are trying to unseat her.
Q. What changes, if any, do you advocate in U.S. energy policy?
Bean. With over half our nation's oil imported from overseas, we must change our long term energy policy to reduce our dependence on foreign sources - placing a greater emphasis on fuel efficiency, energy conservation, and renewable/alternative energy sources.
Toward that end, I successfully offered an amendment to develop realistic ways to increase vehicle efficiency (CAFE) standards, introduced legislation to provide tax incentives to make homes more energy efficient and I voted to expand the infrastructure for E85/Ethanol flexible fuel vehicles.
However, these innovative technologies alone will not bring us to energy independence, which is why I believe we need to look within our own borders to increase domestic energy production in an environmentally-friendly way.
I support additional safe drilling in the National Petroleum Reserve (which has more oil than ANWR and can be more rapidly developed) and voted to safely increase refining capacity and natural gas exploration in the outer-continental shelf.
McSweeney. We need a long-term energy policy in this country that is centered around developing new sources of energy and reducing our dependence on foreign oil. Specifically, I favor safely developing nuclear power, encouraging wind and solar power by offering permanent tax credits and doubling the tax credit for hybrid cars and lifting the artificially low number of hybrid cars eligible for the tax credit.
Also, we should pursue a joint private-public Apollo type of mission to quickly develop hydrogen cars so that we can dramatically reduce our dependence on foreign oil. In the short- term, we need to take additional steps to bring down gasoline prices. For example, I favor replacing the archaic system of regional refined gasoline standards with one national standard.
I also support legislation that would streamline the process for building new refineries and allow safe drilling in specific areas, such as the Gulf of Mexico.
Scheurer. Our dependency on foreign oil and other dirty fuels is wreaking havoc with our security, our economy and the environment. It is funding terrorism, and leading us into unwise war. We simply cannot continue on this course.
I support an aggressive development program for alternative energy technologies, similar to the space program that went to the moon. In doing so, we must be vigilant to not let it become a form of corporate welfare for political favoritism, or let it get tied up in a bureaucracy.
We have some experiences to learn from - the NASA program, the NIH and others - both, for what has worked, and what has not. We also have a rich history of venture capital and university labs development and licensing programs.
The core technologies that come from this project will be owned by the people of the United States, for licensing to businesses on a royalty basis. This will be our oil, our national wealth.
During the interim, we must recognize that we do not have a true market in energy. …