May 23rd, 2009
10:52 AM ET
11 years ago

GOP senator calls on Dems to explore energy options

(CNN) - Republican Sen. John Barrasso on Saturday accused Democrats of trying to limit the country's energy options instead of supporting a "comprehensive plan."

"Democrats have focused solely on what they call green jobs. Those are jobs from alternative energy. I support green jobs, but why discriminate? American energy means American jobs, which is why I support red, white, and blue jobs," he said in the weekly Republican address.

"Republicans support a comprehensive energy plan. A plan that puts Americans to work. A plan that harnesses American resources," the Wyoming senator said.

Barrasso said the GOP supports developing renewable energy and alternative energy, doubling the investment in energy research, exploring American oil and gas resources and promoting clean coal and nuclear power.

Democrats, he charged, "want to put a new tax on American energy."

President Obama has called for Congress to send him an energy bill this year.

Lawmakers have been working on bills that would create a so-called "cap and trade" system for U.S. businesses to sell credits for pollution.

Republican critics say the measure amounts to a "national energy tax," contending that as utility companies work to meet the new standards, they will pass on the costs of the new mandates to consumers.

"No one wants to pay higher energy costs. We must produce more American energy and use less," Barrasso said, arguing that "there is plenty of American energy which the Democrats say that we should not use."

"There are billions of barrels of oil in the Outer Continental Shelf. There's even more in Alaska. There's enough oil shale in the Rocky Mountain west alone to power America for the next hundred years. The Democrats say all this American energy is off limits," he said.

Barrasso cited his home state, which he said is the largest net supplier of energy in the country.

"In Wyoming, we have found the right balance between protecting our environment and developing our energy resources," he said.

"As we approach this Memorial Day, it is my hope that the Democrats can work with us to develop solutions to make our energy supply clean, affordable, and reliable."

FULL TRANSCRIPT:

"Hi, I'm Senator John Barrasso from Wyoming.

"Many Americans spend their Memorial Day weekend traveling with family to visit relatives and friends.

"It's a weekend of ceremonies, parades and cookouts.

"Memorial Day is a time to remember America's fallen heroes – men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for the safety and prosperity of our great country.

"This weekend we pay tribute to their courage.

"Today I'd like to visit with you about the energy we use to power our nation.

"Republicans support a comprehensive energy plan. A plan that puts Americans to work. A plan that harnesses American resources.

"You may have heard that Democrats in Washington are looking to limit our country's energy options.

"It's true. They want to put a new tax on American energy. A new tax every time you turn on a light switch. American families already spend more than $2,000 a year on home energy costs alone.

"No one wants to pay higher energy costs. We must produce more American energy and use less.

"We need to make America's energy as clean as we can, as fast as we can, without raising energy prices for American families.

"That means developing renewable energy and alternative energy.

"It means doubling our investment in energy research.

"It also means responsibly exploring and developing American oil and gas resources, and promoting clean coal and nuclear power.

"The Republican plan will strengthen our economy, protect our environment, and enhance our national security.

"Democrats have focused solely on what they call green jobs. Those are jobs from alternative energy.

"I support green jobs, but why discriminate?

"American energy means American jobs, which is why I support red, white, and blue jobs.

"We should harness the strong work ethic and the creativity of the American people.

"We are a nation that sent men to the moon and safely returned them to Earth.

"Surely we have the creativity and the knowledge to use our nation's energy resources to power our country.

"And with the continued global instability, using American energy seems more important than ever before.

"Energy use around the world continues to increase. It will increase 50 percent in the next 20 years.

"Wind and solar power are very important. We must continue to develop these resources.

"Right now they only count for roughly one percent of U.S. electricity.

"I'm a strong supporter of renewable energy. In Wyoming we have world-class wind resources. But even if we double our nation's wind and solar energy, and then double it again, it won't be enough to meet our energy needs.

"We need more energy. And we need it even at times when the wind isn't blowing and the sun isn't shining.

"There remains a large gap – an energy gap between the reliable energy that we need – and the renewable energy that we want.

"There is plenty of American energy which the Democrats say that we should not use.

"There are billions of barrels of oil in the Outer Continental Shelf. There's even more in Alaska. There's enough oil shale in the Rocky Mountain west alone to power America for the next hundred years.

"The Democrats say all this American energy is off limits.

"When we limit our use of American energy, we become more dependent on foreign oil.

"As a nation, we need to be more energy independent. It is a matter of energy security, as well as national security.

"My home state of Wyoming is the largest net supplier of energy in the country.

"Visitors from around the world come to Wyoming because of our national parks and our beautiful wide-open landscapes.

"In Wyoming, we have found the right balance between protecting our environment and developing our energy resources.

"Americans need more energy. More from our American sources – all of our sources – all of our American sources. And importantly, we must do more to promote conservation, boost the efficient use of energy, and double our nation's investment in energy research.

"Each of these pieces is an essential part of creating American jobs, reducing our reliance on foreign oil, and keeping our energy affordable.

"As we approach this Memorial Day, it is my hope that the Democrats can work with us to develop solutions to make our energy supply clean, affordable, and reliable.

"Thank you for listening."


Filed under: Energy
soundoff (63 Responses)
  1. Mike in Texas

    Sam,

    Gas is up but it isn't at $4 – $5 like it was. In fact it is still lower than it was in 2005. It dropped so much last year because people started using less but like always when it gets cheaper people use more of it. This isn't an Obama thing or was it a Bush thing, it is a greedy America who lives in excess and wants everything supersized. If we can get off our addiction of foreign oil we can escape the grasp of the Greedy OPEC nations.

    quit being narrow minded and look at the big picture.

    May 23, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  2. D. Tree

    There's only one problem, Senator: there is no such thing as "clean" coal!

    You are just another politician doing the bidding of the Coal Companies. You have their interests in mind more than the interests of your country!

    May 23, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  3. NEVADA JOE

    The Republican party can NOT pass the smell test..

    May 23, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  4. Salam

    to Sam who wrote: Sam May 23rd, 2009 11:54 am ET

    Obama must be buddies with big oil. Gasoline is up 36 cents a gallon in the last month and up 70 cents since Obama took office.

    Well Sam notice it cheaper than last year the same time?

    May 23, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  5. barking republican ankle biters

    I know just where he can put the hose and go for gas.

    May 23, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  6. Lynn

    Gee, Sam you really must think our President is omnipotent and can control the price of oil on the world market!!

    The reason gas is going up is because the price of oil has been going up with increased demand. It is happening at gas tanks all over the world!

    May 23, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  7. alvino

    The GOP energy plan is to put an oil rig in everyone's front yard.

    It looks like big oil makes donations to Barrasso.

    May 23, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  8. js007

    More of the same from the Grand Oil Party. They are afraid that their friends in coal and oil will lose out.

    Plus, I have news for you folks, the only way to fight global warming is to make energy more expensive – what else will force people to save it? This does not however mean that the total expense on energy has to go up – by increasing the price we make investing in efficiency more profitable. This will drive energy use down without reducing people's lifestyles.

    May 23, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  9. alvino

    Proud DH S radical-

    That 75% is wrong. You must be getting your numbers from Lying Glenn Beck.

    May 23, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  10. Albo58

    Barrasso is absolutely correct! Cap & Trade is nothing more than a huge tax increase with a built in crisis for technology that is NOT viable yet! Of course the current leadership in the White House and in the Congress have big personal investments in "Green energy" so they are exploiting there power! Only one word really describes their real objective: THEFT!

    May 23, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  11. Charlie in Maine

    Hook up the GOP leadership to wind generators = enough hot air to power the country for generations.

    May 23, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  12. America Shrugged

    Sam, would you get your head out of your you know where? Gas always goes up prior to Memorial day holiday. Has nothing to do with Obama. While I think it is refreshing to hear a GOP talking about renewable energy, we do need to heavily invest in alternative right now. Why pump more $ into renewables we already are heavily invested in? Alternative energy is creating new jobs which is very important right now.

    May 23, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  13. phoenix86

    What the GOP does not understand is that Obama has found a way to transfer American's money back to the government without it being officially called a tax. That the policy to save energy does not work, that it is unnecessary, simply doesn't matter.

    Obama wants money, and cap-and-trade is a way for him to take it from American's (rich and poor alike) without it being so obvious.

    May 23, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  14. Maggie

    Cap and Trade is payback to GE.They will make billions at our expense.
    Obama lies about this. Please wake up America.
    The best thing you can do for your country is demand Congress impeach this traitor.

    May 23, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  15. Joanna

    Let me guess what the GOP wants... More oil and status quo. We certainly do NOT need nuclear. That is a disaster waiting to happen, and you all know it!

    May 23, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  16. MESA MICK

    Typical rethuglicant bleeting and grandstanding on a patrotic related holiday...
    Red White and blue jobs! All he's missing in that "energy solution" is the moronic chanting of "USA – USA!" but he got "Drill Baby Drill!" in there didn't he.
    And as always, them obstructionists have to throw in the fear quota or it just wouldn't be a genuine GOP "solution". You know – Anything the dems wanna do is a tax that our children and grand children will pay for! What next, Obama is a terrorist that doesn't have a US birth certificate and he's endangering American lives?
    Jeez, all these rethugs ever offer up is divisive, useless noise...

    May 23, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  17. Coherent1

    Now you want to negotiate a "variety" of energy. Beforehand it was Drill Baby Drill; how about that for discrimination. Now that leadership has changed hands, you want to press for "non-discriminatory" energy measures. Okay, maybe. But I'm glad you've got a taste of discrimination. It doesn't feel so good, does it. Maybe you and your big oil buddies will come around to truly think about the people they serve. It's not just about jobs; it's also about our health as well. You know, the health thingy you all are so against, because it will take away money from your healthcare buddies? Get to workin' on a comprehensive plan that includes our health and safety and maybe you'll get a listening ear.

    May 23, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  18. Gary

    This stuff isn't difficult. Drill our own oil and natural gas. Use our own coal, wood and ethanol. Put solar panels on every building and home and sprinkle the landscape with windmills. Maybe even expand nuclear plants. Oh yeah and cars of all sizes that get 50 mpg! We could be energy independent in less than 10 years, greener and balance our trade deficit and budget in the process (we buy $700 billion/year of oil from outside the US). Lets stop wasting time with Gitmo and name calling each other and get this done!

    May 23, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  19. Cesar

    Why is it that conservatives always nagg about money? When gas was at four dollars a gallon a friend asked me if I thought it would go higher. I told him I hope it dose, if that is whats going to get people to stop driving heady duty trucks, sports cars, and Hummers then let it be. Yea if your a trucker or a rancher fine you need a heavy duty truck, you race for a living then you need a fast car, your in a warzone you need a hummer. EVERYONE ELSE GET OVER IT!

    May 23, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  20. Simmy

    Republicans were those kids who threw dirt in the eyes of the kids who were at the beach having fun....They're the ants at picnics that attack lunch baskets......They're the ones who look at the sky and wonder why God messed it up with a rainbow.........If it's negative, they're the ones.....

    May 23, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  21. Charles

    @DHS radical:

    I, as a democrat, support the building of nuclear power plants, and I can tell you that I'd far rather pay 75% more on my energy bill then not have an energy bill at all due to not having an inhabitable planet to use energy on.

    May 23, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  22. Th3rdpwr

    Gee, seems to me that just before the market crash, gas prices had already topped $4.00 a gallon (and the oil companies seem anxious to get back there); if I'm going to be paying higher prices, no matter what, it should be toward alternative sources.

    May 23, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  23. Melissa

    This is utterly ridiculous. Nuclear is not the answer. Drilling more wells is not the answer. Its time for American to grow up and lead the way into a new age of green healthy energy.

    The Democrats are promoting it, not stopping it.

    I'm so sick to death of Republican lies.

    May 23, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  24. ethan

    Wow, a Republican using fear tactics not facts, there's a shock.

    May 23, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
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