Energy bill key to nation#039;s independence

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 26, 2005

Independence is a powerful thing. It is the ability to handle life's problems on your own. It can be liberating and empowering.

Decades ago, America was largely independent. For example, once upon a time, a person could build a house completely out of products created in Lawrence County.

Today, America has largely become a consumer nation. We're indebted to and dependent upon far too many other countries.

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A prime example of this is America's heavy dependence upon non-domestic oil producers. Each time we turn the ignition key on our vehicles, we help perpetuate this deficit.

Now, we're not recommending that we scrap our cars and begin walking, but rather we, as a nation, need to put our money where our independence is.

Two energy bills slowly working through the two houses of Congress include some items that will go a long way toward helping America rebuild its independence. The bills should be passed quickly.

The two bills mandate increases in the use of corn-based fuel additives in gasoline. The Senate version of the bill also includes provisions for expanding our research into hydrogen fuels and even stipulates a goal for having 100,000 hydrogen-powered vehicles on the road by 2010 and 2.5 million by 2020.

Increasing the use of ethanol serves two three purposes. The first two are rather obvious. First, it helps our nation's farmers by providing more demand for their corn. Second, adding ethanol to gasoline reduces the amount of foreign oil America must import.

Lastly, the new energy bills create a subtler side effect - America becomes a bit more comfortable with learning how to become independent again.

By focusing our resources on the creation of hydrogen fuels, America is looking to the future and that's a future in which the nation can stand alone in the world, if need be, and doesn't have to make uncomfortable political deals with oil producing nations, just to protect the supply lines.