It's not everyday that you hear a Democrat calling for America to open up its oil and gas reserves to help ease the current energy crunch. Kudos to Harold Ford Jr. for doing just that in a piece in today's WSJ called Washington vs. Energy Security:
So our focus right now has to be to find ways to encourage domestic energy supplies, even while we encourage new sources of energy. President Obama is right that this isn't a long-term solution. But we can't lose sight of what the country needs today.
Here are a few steps to take:
First, let's conduct a comprehensive review of existing policies, rules and restrictions and root out any that needlessly hamper energy production at home. Do the existing environmental rules, for example, accurately reflect the industry's technological advancements in the ability to safely recover oil and gas supplies?
Second, let's develop the skills we need to find new and better ways to recover domestic supplies of energy—and to develop next-generation fuels to secure the future. That means encouraging more students to study math, science and other disciplines this industry needs.
And third, let's stop demonizing Big Oil to score political points. It does nothing to encourage the new talent, new ideas, and new entrepreneurs who are most likely to make breakthroughs in new sources of energy.
The kickoff of the presidential campaign season and the spike in fuel prices offer an opportunity to constructively debate a comprehensive national energy strategy. Effective policies will ensure sufficient domestic production and the healthy operation of U.S. companies abroad, which together will provide the secure, affordable energy supply that Americans need.
Okay, so the second step is some of the same feel good pablum about education that Democrats love to spout, but still for the most part Ford's suggestions are right on. Let's hope that more Democrats follow Ford's lead and start getting serious about addressing America's energy needs.