Statement On Energy Legislation
Statement On Energy Legislation|
In its Statement on Energy adopted on February 8, 2002, the American Jewish Committee called for the United States to adopt a comprehensive energy program that seeks to substantially reduce U.S. dependence on imported oil as a crucial element in achieving energy flexibility and near energy independence in the longer term. Recent events, including the Iraqi oil embargo and the interruption of Venezuelan oil production, have reinforced the critical importance of enacting such a program. In light of these concerns, and the specific measures recommended in AJC's policy statement, AJC urges Congress to seize the opportunity presented by the pending energy legislation to enact a comprehensive energy program.
The overall effort to reduce our nation's dependence on foreign energy sources must be balanced in its approach and encompass the following principles:
The various sides on these issues must look beyond narrow interests in order to ensure that our nation is less susceptible in the future to international energy coercion. In particular, the final energy bill should promote increased development of domestic sources with appropriate attention to environmental and other safeguards, but this development must take place within the context of a comprehensive energy program that includes substantial increases in vehicle fuel efficiency, and a sharp reduction in wasteful energy consumption.
As is well known, proposals for development of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) have been fraught with controversy for a variety of reasons, including the potential environmental impact, a protracted production start date, conflicting oil quantity estimates, and the existence of alternative oil fields in less protected areas. Thus, although AJC has a firm commitment to increased development of domestic energy sources, these considerations evidence the need for more research into the amount of recoverable oil present in the area.
Assuming research bears out the presence of sufficient recoverable oil, AJC would, given the urgent need for the United States to move toward increased energy independence, accept provisions allowing for exploration and development of ANWR accompanied by sound environmental safeguards, but only as part of an overall package that mandates substantially strengthened CAFE standards, and other measures to encourage efficiency and conservation that are necessary elements of a balanced approach to achieving greater energy independence.Date: 6/24/2002