After lots of reflection, spirited debate and conversation, when we ended our big “Steel on Wheels” energy summit Friday, we promised to bring you our own energy manifesto.
Here are some simple guiding principles to focus America’s efforts when it comes to energy.
We must be honest about the true cost of energy sources. It’s like with gas. When you factor in the cost of our wars fighting for oil and the damage to the environment – gas really should cost us $14 a gallon. And that doesn’t just apply to oil because hydro power has its hidden costs. Natural gas has costs you don’t see. Until we end false pricing, we can’t have a real debate about energy sources.
We know that we lose two-thirds of the energy we generate. We are only 34 percent efficient. And changing this isn’t just about switching out a light bulb. That helps, but what’s really needed it for all of us to pressure our local governments to be smarter about energy consumption in local power facilities, municipal buildings, transit and even garbage trucks.
We need an honest inventory of America’s domestic resources both above and below the Earth. And when we have that inventory, we should look first to those sources above ground before we pierce the planet.
Whether its questions about coal mining or fears of firewater, we have to put people first. Know the risks associated with each energy source and weigh those risks against the benefits.
It’s become clear that Washington has failed to lead us on this critical yet very solvable problem. We plan to put together a coalition with these ideas and bring them to Washington. And in doing so we cannot let perfect be the enemy of good. We need action and we need it now. We need to drive American forward towards a sustainable energy policy, and together we can do it.