Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Congressman Ford Addresses Oil Costs, Concerns

Congressman Harold Ford Jr. expects energy and oil to be hot topics for the new legislative session, and the Democrat from Memphis is more than prepared to weigh in when the time comes.

“We will certainly revisit renewable energy sources,” Ford said from his perch behind a lectern in he Shiloh Room. “The legacy that we will all leave in post- 9/11 America must be to secure more energy sources. With the technology we have today, we could not be dependent in 10 years.”

The volume of conversations centering on tapping into the nation’s emergency oil reserve is sure to grow with the potential damage Hurricane Katrina may have wreaked on refineries in the Gulf, but Ford can only imagine why temporary sampling may be necessary.

“I may be in the minority in my party, but I believe that an emergency reserve is just that, for emergencies,” the five-term congressman, said. “Sure, we may be paying a lot of money for gas, but that’s not an emergency. It’s poor planning on our part.”

Energy is sure to be on the minds of many legislators as they head back to work next week, but Ford said that the recent energy bill is not nearly enough.

“We needed a touchdown but got a first down instead,” the 35-year-old said. “We broke it open for a good run up the middle, but we still have another 90 yards to go.”

Instead of staying the course, Ford believes emphasis should be placed on finding more energy sources to ensure that the nation is moving forward. In fact, he is not be troubled or concerned with drilling if proper equipment is secured, and he said that he supports nuclear options if safety and community health can be ensured.

The first step, according to Ford, however, is to ask automakers to increase the mile-per-gallon capabilities of their products and to remain competitive in the global sphere.

“In five years, we’ll be asking ourselves why we didn’t do it sooner,” Ford said. “The technology is there to do it, and the incentives should be as well. We also have to find other ways to make the lights come on in rooms and to export those ideas. We are used to being the innovators and the creators, but the rest of the world is catching up.”

Despite a 30-minute delay caused by traffic on Interstate 40, students seemed to appreciate the congressional visit and walked away with new ideas and changed perspectives.

“I think Congressman Ford did very well and addressed a lot of issues,” Curtis Sanderfer, senior in political science, said. “It’s good to see a legislator come give an update on what’s going on in the country.”

“Overall, I thought the event was very informative, and I hope other congressmen and women would want to do this.” Nathan Zipper, junior in sport management, said. “I like the Baker Center a lot, and they have a lot of good programs this year, so students should get involved.”

From: The Daily Beacon (UT)