Thursday, July 13, 2006

Oil sets record, over $76 a barrel

My jaw nearly hit the floor when I saw that the price of oil has climbed past $76 a barrel.

The Apollo Alliance has a number of ideas for making the country more energy independent. The Apollo Project would break our dependence on oil by investing in renewable energy - an investment that would create 3 million new American jobs.

What do you think needs to happen?

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2 comments:

Daniel Millstone said...

Well, I think you're on to something important here.

As I see it, the WFP has not yet put alternative energy/conservation or environmental quality as key issues on which if focuses.

WFP has not, for example, joined the Apollo Alliance which has been around for a while.

The vast increases in gasoline, natural gas and electricity takes money out of the pockets of all of us. But, figuring out a popular plan for affordable energy in NY may be difficult. As an example, the Apollo Alliance urges the purchase of hybred vehicles many of which are made by non-union labor at plants owned by foreign corporations.

In my view, overcoming the difficulties is worth the effort both because
1) a popular program for energy and the environment is needed and
2) such a program would give WFP an opportunity to make common cause with people who -- up to now -- have not played an important part in WFP programs.

I hope your thoughts are the start of something big.

JW Mason said...

Daniel,

Thanks for the response. You're right that we have not yet made alternative energy a major focus of our work, but the operative word is yet.

We talk regularly with folks from Apollo, and would like to make green buildings, alternative energy and the broader Apollo agenda a much bigger part of our program in 2007 and beyond. (I'm not sure why we're not officially an endorser, but it's certainly not from any disagreements with them. I'll see if we can fix that.)

In terms of specifics, I agree that more work is needed, but off the top of my head some obvious points of departure are:
* Requiring new or renovated public buildings to meet LEED standards (conserves energy, better work environment, and saves money for taxpayers in the long run).
* Incentives for private buildings to meet LEED standards also.
* Encouraging the development of wind power, which upstate is well-suited for.
* Incentives for investment in green buidling technologies, especially upstate, where the combination of cold climate, a solid industrial base and a need for new industries makes this a good prospect.
* Investment in appropriate transportation infrastructure, like a cross-harbor rail tunnel to reduce truck traffic in NYC.
* Changes in zoning and other land-use policies to encourage smart growth rather than sprawl -- good for the environment and for depressed central cities.
* Tax on oil company windfall profits (not clear how much legal authority NY State has in this area, but worth exploring).

The bottom line is, you are absolutely right that this is an important area where we need to do more. Feel free to share any thoughts you have on the blog or with me personally -- my email is jmason@votewfp.org.

Josh Mason
Policy Director, Working Families party