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Leading America Toward Energy Independence

By Rudy Giuliani

America needs to become energy independent.

We should have started to move toward energy independence back in the 1970s, when oil prices spiked and there were the long lines at gas stations. Presidents Nixon and Carter talked about energy independence, but not a lot got done. The next President of the United States is going to have to make it a major goal of their administration. Most people will say it's impossible, we've tried before. I'm running for president because I know how to get things done.

I will move America toward energy independence. It will require setting goals, sticking to them and energizing the American people to achieve them. It will require expanding our reliance on a much more diverse range of energy sources that America can control.

Ethanol and other bio-fuels are already helping America move toward energy independence. But it is embarrassing that Brazil is so far ahead of America in the use of ethanol. It should be the other way around. Seventy percent of the new cars sold in Brazil can use ethanol. In the United States there's only a very small percentage. In Brazil you can pull up to most gas stations and get ethanol. That's not the case in the United States. Our goal has to be more growth in ethanol. Because every percentage that we increase our use of ethanol, we reduce our reliance on foreign oil from volatile areas of the world.

Just like Brazil is ahead of us in ethanol, France is ahead of us in nuclear power. Eighty percent of the electricity in France comes from nuclear power. Only twenty percent of electricity in America is generated by nuclear power and it's going to go down to fifteen percent in the future if we don't do something about it. We invented the peaceful use of nuclear power, but we've let other countries get ahead of us. There is no reason for that. No one's ever died from nuclear power in the United States. Despite that fact, we haven't licensed a new nuclear power plant in the United States in 30 years.

America has more coal than Saudi Arabia has oil. If we can compete and make cost effective the process of carbon sequestration, clean coal, we can rely on coal to a much larger extent. And we can rely on it without harming the environment.

We also must increase our use of solar power, wind power and hydro-power. We can reduce energy costs and reduce pollution through conservation. And if we can figure out how to change our electrical grid to a digital grid we'll be able to use our energy on a much more efficient and consistent basis.

The government needs to help business establish competitive, cost-effective technologies in the short-run. That doesn't necessarily mean larger subsidies. But it does require government helping those developing industries and technologies. In the case of increasing the number of oil refineries and nuclear power plants, it means breaking down some of the bureaucratic burdens.

In the long-run, energy independence can become a great industry for America. We can sell our advances to countries like China and India. They need energy independence even more than we do and they are further behind us in this effort. If we approach this challenge from a position of our strengths, not our weaknesses, we can find new opportunities and create new jobs right here in America.

The government has to approach energy independence the way we put a man on the moon. When the Soviets put a man in space, President Eisenhower was embarrassed and angry. President Eisenhower said we're going to get to the moon first and he started the space program. President Kennedy took it over and expanded it. President Johnson continued the job and President Nixon got it done. That's two Republican presidents and two Democratic presidents - not thinking about partisan interests, but thinking about the national interest. That is the way America achieves great goals.

The bottom line is that there is no one answer: Ethanol and bio-fuels can't do it all, conservation can't do it all, coal, nuclear, wind, solar, hybrid vehicles - none of these are silver bullet solutions. But if we increase our use of each one of them to a higher level, we can achieve energy independence in the future while creating a new engine for the American economy.

Rudy Giuliani is the former Mayor of New York City and a Republican candidate for President.

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