Energy faceoff: College Republicans — Proposals for change to ensure energy security

By Josh Hursa

Turning on a light is such an effortless action. The ability to turn on a light and immediately be able to see into a dark room is an action we often take for granted. Behind that action is a long process that usually starts either with finding natural gas, coal, or harnessing nuclear power in a power plant miles away. Energy has recently been pushed to the forefront of America’s mind, as the rising cost of oil has driven up the cost of everything from the gasoline that we put in our cars and homes, to products we purchase in the supermarket. Sen. John McCain has a strong vision for energy independence.

A long-overlooked source of clean energy is nuclear power. Today, only 20 percent of our energy needs are met by nuclear power. Creation of nuclear power plants has been suspended during the last 30 years and McCain will lift the ban. France relies heavily on nuclear power, using it to produce 80 percent of its energy needs. We can replace the current natural gas burning plants with nuclear power plants, helping to increase our domestic energy production. McCain’s plan for nuclear power includes building 45 new nuclear power plants by 2030, which will create 700,000 jobs. This will provide real people with jobs in the building, maintenance and operation of these power plants. A 21st-century energy policy must include nuclear power.

In addition, McCain encourages an increase in domestic oil production. Drilling here in this country creates jobs for our citizens, reduces the risk of oil spills, and allows Americans to purchase cheap oil. Purchasing oil from Saudi Arabia and other countries in the Middle East is extremely problematic. Aside from the obvious concern of the motives of the leaders of these countries, the transportation of oil across an entire ocean increases the chance of human error causing an oil spill on the scale of the Exxon-Valdez spill. If we consume oil from the Alaskan Pipeline or merely ship the oil from the intercontinental shelf, the decreased transportation time saves Americans’ money and protects our environmental assets. Drilling for oil now is an essential step in protecting national security as well as providing jobs during these tough economic times.

Another energy proposal that compliments nuclear and domestic drilling proposals is wind power. T. Boone Pickens, a Texas oil man, calls the United States “the Saudi Arabia of Wind Power.” North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming come to mind immediately when we think about harnessing the full potential of wind power in the U.S. It is a clean natural resource that provides cheap energy for this country. The U.S. Department of Energy states that wind power may be able to provide one-fifth of the country’s energy needs by 2030. As a vital part of McCain’s energy plan, wind will serve this country as a sound solution to the growing demand we need to continue to grow and thrive.

McCain supports an all-of-the-above approach to our energy security. Currently, we have no miracle cure that will solve our growing demand for energy. We must to continue to find solutions for our energy needs with options that support American prosperity and independence. We cannot continue to rely on foreign nations for our energy needs.

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