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."I believe Vilsack is the first presidential candidate to substantively address this pressing issue, and his outline shows promise.
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.
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.