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Energy Awareness Month

October 27, 2008
Weekly Columns

There's no time in our lives when we are more acutely aware of our dependence on energy than during a power outage.  If and when a blackout occurs, most of us find our everyday lives grinding to a halt.  In truth, we've oriented our lives around things that require a power source - whether it's the television, computers or the lamps overhead that provide us light to see the world around us.  Since 1991, every October has been designated "Energy Awareness Month."  And as the leaves change and the temperature drops, October is a fitting time for us to examine our energy usage and plan our country's energy future.   

The theme of this year's Energy Awareness Month is Working to Secure a Clean Energy Future. This may seem like a lofty goal, but there are a lot of practical steps this country can take towards energy independence.  For example, I believe that we can and should encourage greater energy efficiency by offering conservation tax incentives to Americans who make their cars, homes and businesses more energy efficient.  Also, we should promote clean and reliable sources of energy like clean coal and nuclear and renewable energies like wind, solar and hydroelectric.  In short, we need meaningful energy solutions that make sense for America, our economy and our energy future.

House Republicans are going to continue to fight for an 'all-of the above' energy plan that promotes more conservation, more alternatives and renewables and more American-made energy production.  In fact, Republicans pressured liberal members of the majority party to make sure that offshore energy bans expired.  For too long those bans have blocked American access to oil off the coasts of Florida and California.  But even after this victory there are still powerful special interest groups pressuring Speaker Pelosi to reinstitute those bans through an act of Congress.  And to make matters worse, the next president could choose to reinstate an executive ban on offshore energy as early as late January.  Rest assured I will be working with my colleagues to bring down any efforts to obstruct more production of American-made energy.  These bans have unduly hurt the American family and reverberated in the economy.

Each of us has a different responsibility when it comes to building a future of energy security and we shouldn't wait until a blackout occurs to plan for it.  With the winter months upon us, now is an important time for families to look into what can be done to warm their homes, lower their energy costs and preserve our energy future.  A useful resource for the latest tips on how to save energy and money is  Congress also has a responsibility to make sure that we can reduce our dependence on foreign sources of energy.  We need American resources that are clean, dependable and environmentally sound so that our energy outlook is secure for future generations.