Why do we think it's pretty good?
Well, we wrote it. For a targeted '06 U.S. House race in Vermont. With help from several energy experts from across the political spectrum.
And with the price of a barrel of oil hitting another record today, we thought now would be the prefect time to dust our plan off.
We know, we know, cue the calls from some quarters of "Plagiarist!" and "Burn him at the stake!"
But we'll let our readers make up their own mind as to whether we lifted this energy proposal from Hillary Clinton.
And we might even dare hope that forward thinking GOP political operatives find parts of this plan useful in their ongoing '08 races.
For Immediate Release
Thursday July 27, 2006
Rainville Unveils National Energy Plan
Calls American energy stability “vital for national security”
Outlines short and long-term steps to protect the environment
WILLISTON, Vt. — U.S. House Candidate Martha Rainville today unveiled a comprehensive plan to address America’s energy future. Rainville’s plan includes short- and long-term steps to reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil, protect the environment and ultimately help move the world away from the use of fossil fuels entirely.
“Now is the time to act. A growing American economy needs energy to maintain its strength and to enhance our quality of life,” Rainville said. “My plan will help protect our national security, protect our pocketbooks and protect our environment.”
The plan recognizes that world economic growth — notably in China and India — is bidding up the demand for and thus the price of energy. Rising energy prices mean that energy will claim a larger portion of Vermonters’ income — for transportation, home heating, business and industry, governments and schools.
The plan also takes into account that the world’s dependence on ‘traditional’ forms of energy has had an adverse effect on the environment, especially strip mining for coal, air pollution from fossil fuel burning and the serious problem of nuclear waste disposal. Congress must begin the process that moves the world away from fossil fuels as an energy source and Rainville’s long-term energy plan starts that conversation.
“When I graduated from high school, more than 30 years ago, the keynote speech was on alternative energy. We cannot afford to wait another 30 years,” said Rainville.
“My energy plan acknowledges short-term realities while planning a long-term solution,” she added.
In the short term, Rainville’s plan has four goals for immediate action, which will have long-range effects:
1. Increased conservation and home energy production.
2. Increase supply of alternative fuels by repealing import duties and support for development of cellulosic ethanol and biodiesel production.
3. Mandate government fleet vehicles be flex-fuel or hybrid.
4. Increase domestic offshore production of oil and natural gas.
Rainville’s plan also sets out two long-range goals:
1. Support programs to get American students interested in studying math, science and engineering
2. The creation of a far-sighted International Advanced Research Projects Agency on Energy
“My short-term plan will lessen America’s dependence on foreign sources of oil from unstable regimes by increasing domestic production, promoting ethanol use and enhancing commonsense conservation,” said Rainville. “My long-range plan might be far reaching but I believe it is important for elected officials to have vision and goals for the future.”
Increased conservation and home energy production.
Rainville’s plan will curb America’s energy demand by encouraging household energy conservation through “green construction” and Energy Star homes. The plan encourages individual household electric generation through small scale wind power generation, rooftop solar photovoltaic cells and mini-hydroelectric projects. The plan also calls for increased funding for public transportation and car pooling support programs.
“These are commonsense steps that Vermonters can take in our own back yards and must be encouraged,” Rainville said. “It’s amazing to me how many of the world’s problems can be solved locally.”
“In my own house, when my incandescent light bulbs burn out, I make sure to replace the bulbs with compact fluorescent lighting, which reduces my household electricity use,” she added.
Increase supply of ethanol by repealing import duties and increased support for development of cellulosic ethanol and biodiesel production.
“We cannot seriously address America’s oil consumption without talking about our transportation system,” said Rainville. “In addition to looking at ways to conserve gas, we also need to look at other sources of vehicle fuels.”
The plan would repeal the 54-cent per gallon import duty on Brazilian ethanol, made from sugar cane. It is one of the most efficient ethanol processes and requires less energy to produce than it generates.
Rainville’s plan calls for increased support for research on cellulosic ethanol production using biomass waste and switchgrass. This is preferable to subsidizing corn-based ethanol production, which arguably consumes more petroleum energy than the product yields.
Mandate government fleet vehicles be flex-fuel or hybrid.
“We need to promote not only the availability but the use of alternative fuels,” Rainville said. “Government can lead by example.”
The plan calls for a “Golden Carrot” program of targeted procurement of high mileage flex-fuel and hybrid vehicles with four year payback periods for government fleet use. Rainville credited the “Golden Carrot” idea to Amory Lovins, author of Winning the Oil End Game.
The plan would also assist domestic auto manufacturers in retooling for flex-fuel and hybrid vehicle production with a series of tax credits, which would apply to vehicles produced for the commercial market.
Increase domestic offshore production of oil and natural gas.
Rainville’s plan calls for increased oil and natural gas exploration in the Gulf of Mexico and off the coast of Florida, with federal royalty payments to affected states and sensible, 100-mile buffer zones to protect scenic costal property and public beaches.
Rainville’s plan would not permit drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
“The natural gas resources we could tap by exploring the outer continental shelf could make a difference in the way we use oil,” Rainville said. “By shifting power plants over to natural gas use we will make the oil currently used in the plants available for transportation and for heating homes in the winter.”
Increase student interest, confidence and achievement in science, math and technology
“Through the STARBASE Vermont program I’ve seen thousands of students get very excited about science and technology,” Rainville said. “We need more programs like this and we need to support those students when they go on to pursue higher education in math, science and engineering.”
STARBASE, which stands for Science and Technology Academies Reinforcing Basic Aviation and Space Exploration, is a program of summer activities for students in grades four through six. Its goals include getting students interested in science math and technology, supporting young women who get involved in those fields, and building teamwork, decision making skills and self esteem.
Rainville’s plan calls for more such programs nationally, because the energy future of the world will need America’s best and brightest minds in science.
The creation of a far-sighted International Advanced Research Projects Agency on Energy.
“I believe America should join with the world’s other big energy consumers, such as China and India, to coordinate our technology and manpower to end our dependence on fossil fuels. When all of humankind works toward a common goal, there is nothing we can’t achieve,” Rainville said.
The sole mission of the International Advanced Research Projects Agency on Energy (IARPA-E) would be to create a renewable, clean and affordable energy source for the world’s future.
Rainville’s plan calls for three global scientific headquarters for the agency, one in Asia, the second in India and the third in the United States. The IARPA-E would be the equivalent of Lockheed-Martin’s famous “Skunk Works” when it built the famed U-2 and SR-71 “Blackbird” reconnaissance planes.
IARPA-E would harness the intellectual capital of the finest minds around the world to discover a new, clean, renewable and affordable energy source.
“In the interest of our children and our children’s children we must inspire the world to find the answer to our energy future,” Rainville said. “There is no greater gift we can give to future generations.”
Rainville’s plan would fund America’s portion of the international project in two ways. First, she supports eliminating “royalty-relief” for oil companies drilling on public lands. Royalty-relief, started in 1995 by President Bill Clinton and expanded in 2001 by President George Bush, would cost the federal government $7 billion dollars over the next five years. Rainville believes that this money will be better spent funding the IARPA-E.
She also supports a “windfall profit tax” of 50 percent for any profit oil companies make for oil sold above $40 a barrel, which should generate between $3 billion and $4 billion per year.
Paid for by Martha Rainville for Congress