February 13, 2007

Vilsack issues plan for energy future, challenges Obama to debate

Gov. Tom Vilsack hasn't been sitting still, despite the Obama campaign sucking up all of the media oxygen over the weekend.

He's issued the outlines of his plan for confronting the serious challenge of adjusting our dependency on oil and has called for a debate with Sen. Obama.

He'll unveil his energy plans at San Franscico's Commonwealth Club today.

"For more than 3,000 American soldiers, it (energy independence) has literally been a matter of life and death," Vilsack said in his speech. "Here we are - in a war in which more than 3,000 American men and women have died and thousands more have been maimed and wounded, and all we get is more talk and almost no action."

During his speech, Vilsack called for sweeping change in the government's handling of energy issues by scrapping the Department of Energy and reorganizing it as the Department of Energy Security to better reflect the nation's energy goals. The department would be focused on achieving the ambitious vision of an energy independent America:

"Over the past three decades, the Department of Energy has evolved into an advocate for fossil-based fuel producers, and an unfortunate source of inertia for energy policy," said Vilsack.

Today, Vilsack vowed to lead the nation, as president, toward a dramatic reduction in both energy imports and carbon emissions. To accomplish these goals, Vilsack outlined seven energy objectives that he will initiate as President to move America closer to energy security:

- Adopt a low carbon fuel standard to require all fuel providers by 2010 to reduce the amount of carbon produced by their fuel at a rate of 1% a year for ten years.

-Offer a new range of federal tax incentives, including a 25-cent per-gallon credit for the production of ethanol from cellular fiber.

-Amend the Clean Air Act so that carbon emissions will be cut by 20% in each new coal plant built in the U.S after 2010.

-Require that by 2020 all new power plants built in the United States be carbon-free.

-Enact a new renewable fuel standard and ensure that vehicles are 50% more efficient so that by 2030 America will use 60 million gallons of renewable fuels. Require that 45 billion of the 60 billion gallons of renewable fuels be cellulosic ethanol, biobutanol or biodiesel.

-Encourage technological developments and offer incentives so that by 2040 America's transportation system will be virtually petroleum-free.

-Create a mandatory nationwide cap and trade program to limit emissions of greenhouse gases such that by 2050 America will achieve a 75% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 2000 levels.

Under Governor Vilsack, Iowa led the nation in ethanol and biodiesel production. Iowa is now third in the nation in wind energy production, trailing only Texas and California.
I believe Vilsack is the first presidential candidate to substantively address this pressing issue, and his outline shows promise.

The AFSCME union had wanted to hold a debate in Carson City, NV, but Obama declined saying that he would be campaigning in Iowa at the time. Vilsack, who had agreed to attend the Nevada debate, then responded by proposing that the debate be held in Iowa instead.

In a letter Vilsack sent to Obama, he stated:
I plan on attending the Carson City forum, but after the forum is over, I will fly back to Iowa in order to join you in the first Iowa forum. I have contacted AFSCME Council 61 in Des Moines to see if they would host this first candidate forum in Iowa during your visit to the state. They have agreed and I hope that you will agree to accept their offer.


At 2/13/2007 4:57 PM, Blogger Craig said...

Vilsack is a third rate candidate and Obama would be foolish to debate him one on one. All that it would do is boost Vilsack's image, because it would be covered by the major news networks. It's a cheap trick. Wait until the real Democratic debate in April Vilsack.

At 2/13/2007 5:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obama shouldn't debate the lesser know candidate. Barack should debate only when Hillary is in the room. To do anything else is to lift up lesser know candidates.

At 2/13/2007 6:52 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

The way I read it, this was a debate for all of the presidential contenders, not just one on one.

At 2/13/2007 7:22 PM, Blogger nicodemus said...

Yes, I agree. Gov. Nutsack is just trying to use Obama to pull himself out of obscurity. He is clamoring for attention even in his home state.

Ethanol is not a real solution to energy dependence at all. It is costly, impractical, it wastes our food supply, and it still takes fossil fuels to produce the stuff. And yet, people don't see it. Ethanol is a mindless feel-good pitch for votes, just like "create jobs" and "fix our health care system". Ethanol is a pied piper to a soft-headed electorate. In that sense, it is effective.

At 2/14/2007 9:11 PM, Blogger Scott said...

Governor Vilsack is a good speaker (not great) and he has several ideas that I could stand behind. I think he would make an excellent Vice President or Secretary of Agriculture. I would not be suprised if a position like that was not his ultimate goal.

At 2/15/2007 7:30 PM, Blogger nicodemus said...

Hmm, interesting. It reminds me of 1992 when Bill Clinton promised organized labor that he would appoint Tom Harkin as Secretary of Labor, then when he got in office he appointed a dwarf instead.

At 2/16/2007 1:53 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Who did pretty well if I recall. Guess physical height isn't a barometer of capability, despite what you evidently think.

At 2/16/2007 1:53 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Who did pretty well if I recall. Guess physical height isn't a barometer of capability, despite what you evidently think.

At 2/16/2007 10:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Vilsack is not a viable candidate and therefore should not be in any debate.


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