It’s the Energy Stupid!

, Jesse Masai, Leave a comment

Capitol Hill continues to reverberate with clashes of opinion over the best way forward on the energy crisis facing the country.

Only last week, Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC), Chairman of the Senate Republican Committee, and Congressman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), Chairman of the House Republican Study Committee, led an effort to open up domestic sources of oil by promoting the American Energy Freedom Day on October 1, 2008.

It is estimated that 18 billion barrels of recoverable crude oil and more than 55 trillion cubic feet of natural gas are currently locked away from consumers.

On October 1, the Consolidated Appropriations Act that prohibits the exploration of domestic oil, shale, and natural gas development in the Outer Continental Shelf and much of the West, expires. >[?

The leaders said at the press conference that only an act of Congress would keep these potential sources of energy from being developed and giving Americans some relief from record energy prices, and they are asking their Democratic counterparts “to do nothing” when the current Act expires.

Last week, energy discussions shifted increasingly towards both further conservation and production.

At a senate hearing on September 23, legislators and experts were still torn on how to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, with rising concerns that both the economy and national security were now under threat.

A seminar organized by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars on the same day also called for a more aggressive approach to climate and energy.

“In a time of rising fuel prices and catastrophic storms, energy security and climate change, we need more concrete steps to address these linked problems,” former Chairman of the Science Committee, Rep. Sherwood Boehlert, said.

Lester Brown of the Earth Policy Institute said renewable energy technologies and the restructuring of the nation’s transport system would be necessary to avoid a possible climate crisis and the related issues of population growth, water shortages and food security.

Former Director of the Department of Energy’s Office of Policy Melanie Kenderdine said that there exists a need to educate the nation’s media on how to cover the energy crisis.

Jesse Masai is an intern at the American Journalism Center, a training program run by Accuracy in Media and Accuracy in Academia.