LAS VEGAS (CNN) – John McCain pledged Wednesday that “in a world of hostile and unstable suppliers of oil,” the United States will achieve “strategic independence” from foreign oil by the year 2025.
For the first time, McCain labeled his energy plan "The Lexington Project."
Watch: McCain promotes 'The Lexington Project'
“Remember that name,” he told an audience at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. “Named for the town where Americans asserted their independence once before.”
National security, he said, makes it imperative to wean the nation off its foreign energy needs.
“Energy security is a vital question because it concerns America's most fundamental interests, and above all the safety of our citizens from the violence of the world,” he said.
“All the tact of diplomacy cannot conceal a blunt reality. When we buy foreign oil, we are enriching some of our worst enemies. And in the Middle East, Venezuela, and elsewhere, these regimes know how to use the power of that wealth.”
McCain’s speech was an amalgam of the energy policy prescriptions that he has outlined in recent days on the campaign trail. He called for developing green technologies, building 45 new nuclear reactors, expanding clean coal research, and upgrading existing infrastructure.
He proposed incentives for creating new fuel-efficient vehicles and once again offered a prize of $300 million to the creator of a car battery that would far exceed current energy standards.
McCain, who has been admonished by Democrats and environmentalists for his call to lift the federal ban on offshore drilling, struck back at his critics in the speech.
“Opponents of domestic production cling to their position even as the price of foreign oil has doubled and doubled again,” McCain said. “They were against it when a gallon of gas cost two dollars. They are still against it when a gallon of gas cost well above four dollars.”
“As a matter of fairness, we must deal with the here and now, and assure affordable fuel for America by producing more of it ourselves,” he said.