Promote fuel efficiency |

Promote fuel efficiency

The Senate has begun debate on a far-reaching bill that will determinate whether America’s energy policies will save or destroy our natural heritage. Senate majority leader Tom Daschle has introduced legislation that would protect the Arctic Refuge and reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign oil by making our cars and trucks more fuel efficient. But the Bush administration and a powerful pro-oil block of senators are pulling out all stops and continuing to aggressively push an energy plan that is patently not in the public interest, vowing to pass amendments that would open the Arctic Refuge to drilling and block new fuel-efficiency standards.

Because we possess a paltry 3 percent of the world’s oil reserves, but consume 25 percent of the world’s oil supply, we can never drill our way to energy independence. If we raise the fuel-economy standard for new cars and light trucks to 40 miles per gallon over the next 10 years, we could save 15 times more oil than the Arctic Refuge is likely to produce over the next century. By the year 2012, fuel efficiency would be saving us nearly 2 million barrels of oil a day, more than all the oil we imported from Saudi Arabia last year. As an added benefit, we’d be cutting millions of tons of global warming pollution and smog-forming air pollution.

Only the oil giants could argue that despoiling the Arctic Refuge makes more sense than this cheaper, cleaner, more self-reliant path of fuel efficiency. Don’t let the U.S. Senate cave in to their pressure. These will be the most important environmental votes your senators cast all year. Tell them to vote no to arctic drilling and yes to increased fuel efficiency. If we speak with one voice, we can preserve our natural heritage and make America more energy independent. Send your protest to as many Congresspersons as possible. (Remember that their main objective is to increase their personal bank account and insure their re-election!)

Jean-Jacques Legras

Grass Valley

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