Energy faceoff: University Democrats — Proposals for change to ensure energy security

By Krista Wettengel

It’s safe to say that most Rider students are children of the 1990s. If you’re like me, you spent time watching Saved by the Bell. There was an episode where oil was discovered under the football field at Bayside High (like that could happen). Everybody was thrilled about the school’s newfound wealth, except Jessie Spano, everyone’s favorite feminist. No one listened to her concerns about the harmful potential of oil drilling, so she got a huge prop oil rig and chained herself to it in the middle of the hallway. I never thought I would say this, but we could all learn something from the neurotic Ms. Spano.

Oil makes the world go round. It runs our cars, heats our homes and makes our plastic. But oil is a finite resource and it will not last forever. Plus, we’re not the only ones using it. China, India and other developing societies are all demanding more oil, which inflates its price. Not only is oil limited, but the United States has very little. We rely heavily on Middle Eastern countries for it. Our domestic policy revolves around the price of oil and gas and it largely determines our foreign policy as well. It has been confirmed time and again that Iraq had no nuclear weapons when the U.S. invaded — but it sure had plenty of oil. Right now, the United States is equivalent to a drug addict with a chemical dependency it just can’t break.

There has to be a reason we continue to live like this, a reason why the American people are tolerating ridiculous gas and heating prices. Maybe it’s because for the last eight years a Texas oil man has been running the country. Maybe it’s because “Big Oil” (a.k.a ExxonMobil, Chevron, etc.) has been raking in billions of dollars in profits that it uses to influence political campaigns and elections. So long as America is content to “drill, baby, drill,” our country will be at the mercy of oil companies at home and abroad. Energy independence is the key to restoring our democracy and our standing in the world.

Barack Obama understands that the 21st-century global economy requires a 21st-century energy policy. Right off the bat, he will enact a tax on oil companies to provide American families with a $1,000 Emergency Energy Rebate. He will increase fuel economy standards for cars and wants one million plug-in hybrid vehicles on the road by 2015. Obama believes that the U.S. can reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050 and, in the process, become a global leader in dealing with climate change.

Obama will also invest in the immense potential of water, wind, solar and nuclear power. Solar panels and wind farms are truly the technology of the future, and millions of jobs can be created in green technology. Not only will these energy sources be cleaner and more efficient than oil, they will also keep consumers’ money inside the United States and out of the Middle East and Venezuela — hundreds of billions of dollars annually.

Obama recognizes that the “Green Revolution” will not occur overnight, but in last week’s presidential debate, he declared that energy independence will be his first priority as president of the United States. Ending our addiction to foreign oil will strengthen our economy and our national security. So on Election Day, when you are standing in that voting booth, remember the infamous words of Jessie Spano: “Stop the drilling! Stop the oil!”

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