August 27, 2008

Comprehensive Energy Vote Sought As Congress Returns To Work

Crapo rallies Idahoans for legislative action September 8th

Boise - Citing the economic stress on Idahoans and all Americans, Idaho Senator Mike Crapo is calling for a vote on comprehensive energy reform as soon as Congress returns to work September 8th. Crapo joined with a coalition of local energy interests urging Idahoans to tell Congress to immediately consider wide-ranging legislation that will feature more domestic production, conservation and alternative energy using what Crapo calls a "use less, produce more" model.

"I am calling on Idahoans to make it loud and clear, not just to our delegation, but to their friends and neighbors in other states: tell the Congress we need to vote now on a comprehensive energy bill," Crapo said alongside representatives from Idaho gas stations, energy researchers and a local electric car distributor.

"We've been dependent on petroleum as our primary source of energy for far too long, and we are too dependent on foreign sources of that oil," Crapo said. "Any bill should not focus on just one energy source. We need to act now, and we need to do so in a way that explores all those energy options."

"We do need a comprehensive policy," agreed Dr. John Gardner, Associate Vice President at Boise State University, who coordinates wind and geothermal research. Gardner says Idaho can play an even larger role in the research and development of alternative energy given more federal resources to do so. "Idaho is in a good spot to do that," Gardner said. "We have the wind resources, solar resources. We're sitting on top of a great geothermal resource here in Boise that heats most of the downtown. We have great universities that are ready to take on that challenge."

Electric cars are beginning to get more attention in Idaho, according to Sand Hollow resident Clint Marchbanks, who converts the Zap Truck made in China to run on fuel in addition to batteries. While demonstrating the operations of the electric truck, Marchbanks said federal legislation could spur plans underway for public plug-in charging stations from Caldwell to Boise. "I can charge this vehicle up for eight hours for 25 cents," Marchbanks said. "It has a running distance of about 40 miles. This is the cheapest form of transportation there is," he said, adding electric cars are popular in other Northwest states and foreign countries and will catch on in Idaho "if we can promote it with the Senator's help."

John Jackson, who owns and operates convenience stores and gasoline stations throughout Idaho, agreed that Congress has been ineffective in passing legislation that spurs additional American energy production while the nation transitions to alternative energy. "It makes me sick to see the hundreds of millions of dollars that are going overseas, paying for the excessive price of fuels," Jackson said. "It's down to supply and demand. We need to reduce demand with alternative fuels and change our habits. Eighty-five percent of our shorelines are off-limits right now-it's not realistic."