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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Thursday, September 04, 2008

II. Bennett Unveils E3 Energy Plan

Before taking questions, LV Congressional candidate Sam Bennett unveiled what she calls her E3 energy plan.

"I really believe that you can change things and that you can make something like what we all dream about - it's the American dream. It can be made into reality. Even though there wasn't the tax dollars to transform a historic Allentown high school [William Allen], we figured out a way to do it.

"I'm very deeply committed to education. I'm one of the only civilians to win the Allentown educators of the year award. I believe very deeply that every child should have access to a quality education and a chance to go to college, that the socio-economics they were born into should not limit them there. It's only good for our nation to draw on every drop of talent that we have.

"Hardworking people should be able to earn a decent wage. Every senior should have a secure retirement. Everybody should be able to own a home, pay for health insurance, child care, groceries and gas and still have a little bit left over to save.

"Those are my guiding principles on what type of legislation should come out of Congress and what type of nation we need to be.

"Specifics to that point ...

"Right now, we all know gas prices are going to be very difficult, particularly over this coming winter. The real challenge is for people to get to work and an accompanying challenge is for people to be able to heat their home.

"Some of the specifics of what I'm proposing and, you've heard this before, we need a short-term very aggressive plan and a long-term ten year very aggressive plan.

"In the short term, I would give folks immediate tax relief - I agree with Obama on his average $10,000, $1,000 per working family, and they're struggling to make ends meet. The economic stimulus checks were not enough; they also did not deal with the root causes of what is going on.

"In addition in my opinion, we need to open up the strategic oil reserve. In 1991, during the Persian Gulf war, George H. W. Bush released oil from reserve, and prices dropped 33%. I believe this is the prudent course of action and will bring immediate relief to families.

"That being said, this short-term approach has to be accompanied at the same time with a long-term strategic approach - a ten-year plan to reduce our dependency on oil.

"A little framework as we move forward. Here in Pennsylvania, the unemployment rate has jumped to 5.4%. It was at 4.3%. Now, in the Lehigh Valley, we're not doing so well. . . . We've got 24,000 Lehigh Valley workers unemployed. We've got to deal with this before the problem gets worse.

"As many of you know, I'm a 20-year small business owner, corporate executive, I'm very much about making businesses healthy ... . So we need to provide some basic, common sense tax incentives for business. Clearly, when we have Mack Truck moving to North Carolina or even sending good jobs overseas, we need to enact policies that reward companies that maintain or create new jobs here and keep their headquarters here. It's very critical.

"Right now, we're just rewarding the ones that outsource and that's gotta' end. And if we talk about a true job creation policy, a true economic growth policy, that's where this long-term plan of ten years of aggressive federal actions and synergistic work with local municipalities and the state to reduce our dependency on oil, is probably the greatest economic boon looking us right in the eye. And a terrific job creator.

"Helping our families get to work and creating jobs here at home all come together, creating a real energy policy that will allow us, once and for all, to end our dependence on foreign oil and invest in innovative new technologies that create jobs.

"Now, I'm sure you all heard that at the Democratic convention, Obama committed to achieving these goals in ten years. I agree with that timeline and I'm making the same commitment because it's a national economic security issue.

"I'm going to be talking more about what I call my E3 energy plan - recognizing the inter dependencies of our economy, energy and environment - in the upcoming weeks. I'll be sharing that with everybody. But the reality is that the Lehigh Valley is perfectly positioned to be an epicenter for this new energy economy. That's cuz' we have this terrific manufacturing tradition - Bethlehem Steel, Mack Trucks, Crayola, we've got our international chemical company, Air Products, we've got local utility PPL and international organic leader Rodale Institute - who all can work together and provide us with the know how and resources to develop workable solutions.

"In the long term, I must say, we also have got to crack down on oil market manipulation that drives personal profits while we pay more at the pump. We have to hold big oil companies accountable. We have to require them to drill on the 68 million acres they currently hold leases on. Those leases, by the way, are estimated to produce 107 billion barrels of oil, enough to get us over the hump, enough to supply us for the next fourteen years, long enough for us to bridge the gap while we're developing renewable alternative energies and getting those to market.

"So as the next member of Congress from the Lehigh valley, I'm going to make this new energy economy a top priority. With the right incentives and commitment from the federal government, we'll create green collar jobs right here. At the same time, energy costs will go down and assist our working families get to work and heat their homes and our retirees - and we have so many of them in this district - can afford to have a decent quality of life."


Anonymous said...

U Go Girl!

Anonymous said...

"Clearly, when we have Mack Truck moving to North Carolina or even sending good jobs overseas, we need to enact policies that reward companies that maintain or create new jobs here and keep their headquarters here. It's very critical."

The last thing we need is "rewards" to companies that will ultimately come in the form of cardboard checks to campaign contributors.

Mack Trucks moved because the tax environment in North Carolina is better than the tax environment in Pennsylvania.

How about the Governor doing something about business tax relief for ALL Pennsylvania businesses - not just the politically-connected? That would do more to protect and attract jobs in PA than anything else.

Anonymous said...

Good energy policy -- drill where there either isn't oil or where it would cost even more to take it out of the ground thus leading to higher costs for the consumers anyway.

Anonymous said...

Sam, if opening the dismally small SPRO (Strategic Petroleum Reserve) would lower gas prices, why would drilling not lower them?

You admit that increased supply reduces prices. The SPRO could only supply a couple of weeks of oil for the US.

We have more oil than Saudi Arabia does, yet, it is against the law to drill it.

Shouldn't you support drilling for the oil we have in the ground instead or releasing a pitiful amount of oil we purchased from other countries?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Joe, You caught the logical flaw in Bennett's argument. I oppose drilling in ANWR unless persuaded it is environmentally safe. Dent mentioned some things (drilling on a slant) that lead me to think it may very well be environmentally safe, but I had already gobbled two hours of his time, and will research that myself.

Anonymous said...

The US imports roughly 10 million barrels of oil a day which is about 50% of our total daily consumption. The SPR contains a bit more than 700 million barrels.


So tapping the SPR would let us go without any imports for about 70 days. What happens after that? If the oil exporting countries decide to try another 70's style embargo how will our economy function with the resulting shortages? In this context, tapping the SPR doesn't a particularly prudent thing to do. The SPR was set up to mitigate the impact of an unexpected supply disruption - let's save it for that.

Dean Browning