Friday, July 18, 2008

Caucus: Energy Crunch

So the Seattle Times Caucus Experiment continues, and it is starting to feel like a "Letters to the Editor" column in which the paper calls the subject matter. Everybody throws in on the general question, they winnow it down to a double-handful of different viewpoints, which they edit for the main web page (everyone's contributions are on another page if you're interested), and they take two or three choice comments and put it in the dead-tree edition.

This time, I got a mention on the front web page. This was the question:
The Labor Department says consumer prices shot up in June at the fastest pace in 26 years, and two-thirds of the surge is blamed on soaring energy prices. Assuming that oil prices are still breaking records and causing further economic woes when January rolls around, what steps should the next president take in his first 100 days in office to address the nation's energy crisis? Are there steps that the state Legislature and governor should also take?
I'm working on trying to keep the comments down to three paragraphs. Let's see if it works.
National - Re-evaluate all Federal benefits to the oil companies - tax breaks, leases, etc. Do not eliminate this funding, but redirect it to turn the energy companies towards non-oil based strategies (wind, solar, etc.) There is willingness among the energy companies to go in that direction (T Boone Pickens is pushing windpower, for heaven's sake), but our regulatory infrastructure is supporting the old ways.

As a minor point, put the bloody solar panels back on the White House.

State - Regional mass transit - its a challenge too large for any one city or county.
What I find interesting is that this is the first time I encountered the phrase "energy crisis" - it is almost as if we've been avoiding comparison to those dark days of the late seventies when prices soared to over a buck a gallon.

The dead tree edition had entries talking about the importance of conservation and the importance of drilling in Alaska (call me crazy, but if I have a limited resource, I want to use EVERYONE ELSE'S supplies before dipping into my own).

Meanwhile, I'm slowly working my way up the food chain.

More later,