Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era
Let's promote all forms of energy U.S. energy independence is a goal that almost everyone can agree on.
Not having to rely on the Middle East for oil would affect American foreign policy in several ways. Prime among them, it would alleviate concern about the nation going to war to protect the oil supply.
"The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult,'' President Obama said in his inaugural address this week. "But America cannot resist this transition, we must lead it.''
But how will America lead this transition?
Leadership that has a chance of reaching the goal of energy independence will require a willingness to embrace forms of domestic energy production that will not be favored by all.
Some leaders would like to turn more aggressively to renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power.
Others would prefer to embrace extended exploration for finite supplies of oil and natural gas.
But we will need both renewable and unrenewable sources, at least for the foreseeable future.
U.S. Rep. Joe Pitts spoke to this issue this week in response to President Obama's comments in his inaugural address.
"We need to promote all forms of energy -- not just renewable energy,'' Pitts said. "Investing in natural gas and oil is a way to create hundreds of thousands of jobs and end our dependence on foreign energy.''
Thereby, while supporting oil and gas, Pitts threw a light jab at the administration, which has spent millions of dollars on questionable efforts to promote renewable energy sources.
The congressman, like the president, clearly favors some energy sources over others.
He voted last month against a Democratic bid to repeal about $4 billion in annual tax breaks for the five largest oil companies.
And he said he supports an end to an annual $2.53 billion in tax breaks extended to wind power developers. That issue never came up for a separate vote.
Both subsidies will continue this year.
That's part of the price Americans will pay as the nation pursues energy independence.
The alternative -- to continue indefinitely to allow a handful of countries with oil to control much of the flow and price of energy to the United States -- is not acceptable.
Everyone -- from the president to Rep. Pitts -- needs to remain open to exploiting all sources of energy, accept the price of the project and move forward.