Declare Energy Independence

We the people need to motivate Uncle Sam to adopt rational and revolutionary policies for long-term energy independence.

| June/July 2006

  • energy independence - energy subsidies pie chart
    Fossil fuels traditionally receive the lion’s share of federal energy subsidies, which are funded by our taxes. A better strategy for the long term would be to shift that support to developing renewable energy industries.
    U.S. Energy Information Administration
  • energy independence - windmills
    On the path to energy independence, large-scale wind power has tremendous potential in the United States, particularly in the Midwest.
    Photo by Veer

  • energy independence - energy subsidies pie chart
  • energy independence - windmills

Fact: All forms of energy are subsidized. Oil. Gas. Coal. Nuclear. Renewables. All of them. No type of energy stands alone in the market, free of tax breaks, research grants or other forms of government help. Fact: Subsidies are ultimately funded by the taxes we pay.

Few except pure libertarians would do away with all government intervention in the energy marketplace. But the salient question is, given the increasing problems connected with conventional energy, which subsidies make sense and which don’t?

The question must be asked because our current energy habits are not sustainable for the environment, our national security or our economic health. The United States must establish a long-term strategy to shift to cleaner, more diverse, more secure sources of energy used more efficiently. Subsidies can be a major tool in this effort, and those that move us closer to that goal — and toward energy independence — deserve support. Those that don’t should be terminated.

A Time for Leadership

Beyond environmental impacts, there are good reasons to rewrite our nation’s energy script. America uses too much oil too inefficiently. Imported oil fills the gap between rising demand and declining domestic production. In 2004, imports accounted for 58 percent of consumption. By 2030, imports will reach 62 percent, government projections forecast.

Oil dependence leads to serious security risks. Many oil-exporting countries, such as Iran and Saudi Arabia, are run by unpredictable regimes. Violence and civil unrest in such countries can roil an increasingly tight global oil market, adding a “fear premium” to prices and exposing the economy to disruptions that could send fuel prices upward. Furthermore, high U.S. demand keeps oil prices high — a subsidy we pay to what New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman calls the world’s worst regimes.

At some point, crude oil production will peak and begin an inexorable decline. No one knows for sure when “peak oil” will be reached, but some experts say it is just around the corner. Long lead times will be necessary to introduce replacement fuels, according to a 2005 study published by the National Energy Technology Laboratory. Better to start sooner on alternatives rather than later, or risk serious harm to the economy, the study said.

6/15/2007 12:00:00 AM

Regardless of what our President and/or Congress does with a 'national energy policy', our government, through the Department of Energy (, the Environmental Protection Agency (, National Nanotechnology Initiative ( and even through NASA, are working their tails off to move us into the alternate energy and hydrogen economy. I have used the above sites as my main reference to provide an outline of how we, the average Jake and/or Jill, can contribute to this effort as well. All we have to do is remember the pioneering spirit of our forefathers and go to work. All of us can do it with a little work and with a small amount of money out of our pockets. Those who came before us did it with a little land and a lot of sweat. Be aware, too, that Mother Earth News is filled with many how-to's and alternate energy ideas, from efficient gardening to alternate energy. Remember your pioneering spirit and go for it! The 'they' in 'They aught to do something about it!' is YOU and ME.Build your own self sufficient space station right here on this big blue rock with,,,,

Jay Draiman
3/9/2007 5:57:07 AM

MANDATORY RENEWABLE ENERGY – THE ENERGY EVOLUTION –R13 In order to insure energy and economic independence as well as better economic growth without being blackmailed by foreign countries, our country, the United States of America’s Utilization of Energy Sources must change. "Energy drives our entire economy.” We must protect it. "Let's face it, without energy the whole economy and economic society we have set up would come to a halt. So you want to have control over such an important resource that you need for your society and your economy." The American way of life is not negotiable. Our continued dependence on fossil fuels could and will lead to catastrophic consequences. The federal, state and local government should implement a mandatory renewable energy installation program for residential and commercial property on new construction and remodeling projects with the use of energy efficient material, mechanical systems, appliances, lighting, retrofits etc. The source of energy must be by renewable energy such as Solar-Photovoltaic, Geothermal, Wind, Biofuels, Ocean-Tidal, Hydrogen-Fuel Cell etc. This includes the utilizing of water from lakes, rivers and oceans to circulate in cooling towers to produce air conditioning and the utilization of proper landscaping to reduce energy consumption. (Sales tax on renewable energy products and energy efficiency should be reduced or eliminated) The implementation of mandatory renewable energy could be done on a gradual scale over the next 10 years. At the end of the 10 year period all construction and energy use in the structures throughout the United States must be 100% powered by renewable energy. (This can be done by amending building code) In addition, the governments must impose laws, rules and regulations whereby the utility companies must comply with a fair “NET METERING” (the buying of excess generation from the consumer at market price), including the promotion of re

wesley bruce
10/25/2006 12:00:00 AM

KHICKFORD commented "Savonius Rotor" on LorriesIf I guess right these things you saw were 10 to 30 cm in diameter, shorter than their hight and had a vertical axis. The rotor drives a fan in the ceiling that sucks air out of the van. It keeps things cool and fresh inside. It can be a problem in dusty environments but it will work on any vehicle that moves at a goods road speed. Larger versions can be found on older buildings. Even a light wind is enough to drive the unit when stationary and it can turn over the air in a large lorry or building in minutes. The technology dates from the mid 1900's. First used on train carrages.


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