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A Call for a Balanced Approach to American Energy Independence


As domestic oil production in America continues to increase and technology displaces oil or allows us to use oil more efficiently, American energy prospects are looking up. However, much needs to be done to wean ourselves off of foreign oil and the volatile petroleum market, says Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE).

SAFE is a nonprofit organization that advocates comprehensive energy reform dedicated to reducing America’s dependence on oil. “Forty years [after the OPEC embargo], de-linking America’s economy and security from high and volatile global oil prices is even more essential to protecting our domestic and international interests,” Frederick W. Smith, chairman of SAFE’s Energy Security Leadership Council and CEO of FedEx wrote in a piece co-authored with former secretary of state George Schultz. “Fully maximizing the opportunities presented by the American energy revolution will require a concerted national effort that prioritizes investment in the development of advanced energy technologies.”

To end America’s dependence on foreign oil, SAFE recommends a concerted effort spearheaded by the government: “While market forces will surely take the country forward, the global oil market suffers from numerous market failures with grave national and economic security costs. This circumstance creates an unavoidable role for government policy,” SAFE’s report entitled “A National Strategy for Energy Security” says.

To achieve energy independence, SAFE offers a variety of recommendations, from advancing technology to reduce energy use to maximizing domestic energy production of coal, natural gas, and oil.

“We’ve got the potential that no nation in the world has ever experienced — and that is to have more natural resources in terms of our petroleum reserves, our natural gas reserves and our coal reserves,” retired General James Conway, a member of SAFE’s Energy Security Leadership Council said. “And it calls out for a national strategic energy plan.”

Though SAFE hopes for bipartisan support, Republicans and Democrats usually face a stalemate with one side arguing for expanded oil production and the other arguing to use more tax dollars for alternative-energy investments. SAFE’s proposal attempts to mitigate these differences by calling for more oil and gas extraction on federal lands as well as appropriating funds for research and development for alternative-energy sources.

Ken Blackwell, a senior adviser to SAFE, is currently working along with Conway to build support for their proposal in Congress.


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