I see energy as a leverage issue. If we get that policy right, it will help solve several other very big challenges this country faces.

By now we are all painfully aware of the dangers of reliance on foreign oil. Driven by our need for oil, U.S. energy policy has led to military ventures that have proven costly in both our blood and treasure. Take away the subsidies that the oil companies receives in terms of tax breaks, then factor in the cost of Middle East military action and government handouts, and the cost of gasoline would certainly be a lot higher. But maybe we need to experience that real cost to push us to real independence.

I believe it’s time to direct our American ingenuity and creativity toward weaning ourselves off oil. We need policies that encourage and incentivize new energy sources and technologies. American energy companies have made huge break-throughs in natural gas exploration that have brought the cost of this clean burning fuel to historically low prices. The U.S. solar industry is on the rise and entrepreneurial “smart” technology is revolutionizing energy conservation in homes and businesses. We need policies that encourage this kind of creative business thinking. Let’s not continue to prop up a system that leads to costly wars and environmental damage. I’m not saying create more rules, regulations, and policy, I’m saying focus on the right policy that enables free market ingenuity to come up with solutions, creating new industries and new jobs in the process.

There is no one panacea; a realistic energy plan is a combination of energy solutions, many of which are regionally specific.

There are several things we can do in the short term to lead us to energy independence, reduce emissions, and increase marketplace efficiency.

  1. Smartly develop and produce energy with our own vast natural resources.

  2. Convert all commercial vehicles to burn natural gas.

  3. Reduce fuel formulations from 12 to 1.

  4. Update and develop new nuclear power facilities.

  5. Improve CAFE standards

There is a lot of debate surrounding the Keystone Pipeline. This 2,500-mile pipeline will add to the existing 2.5 million miles of pipeline stretching across America. In fact, additional pipelines will be built in the future to eliminate the transport of fuel on railroads. I believe Keystone is not about fossil fuels vs. alternative energy. It's about where we as a country want to source our fuel. Do we want to rely on our own resources or the Middle East's? Why not support our number one trading partner and neighbor: Canada?

This oil is coming to market one way or another, so why not be smart and follow the recommendations from the State Department, the States involved, and the workers who need the jobs? Do I believe that we have the ability to reduce our long-term fossil fuel needs? Yes I do.

Presently, we consume between 8 to 9 million barrels of oil a day. Fossil and liquid fuels are primarily used for transportation. Until we change this we are totally dependent on oil.

We need a strategy that plans for the future and takes care of our short and mid term needs. We cannot expect our country to rely on alternative energy when the solutions are either not yet available, insufficient, or completely non-existent.

The absence of a plan is not option!