Energy Reform = Space Race

Last night I attended a rally for Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton. Hillary has been an advocate for real energy reform for years. One of the pillars of her Presidential platform is a "strategic energy fund" that would act as a source of funding for research into renewable and sustainable sources of energy. The money in the fund would come from rolling back tax breaks and subsidies given to oil and gas companies, since they're currently earning record profits and probably not in need of such corporate welfare.

One thing that Hillary said in her speech that struck a chord with me was the fact that as America fails to embrace renewable energy sources, our research, patents, intellectual property and trained scientists are being recruited away from us by European and Asian companies or governments. We are exporting our knowledge for free rather than our products for money because other nations are ahead on these issues.

Hillary compared this challenge to the "space race" of the 1950's to 1970's. At that time, our opponents in the Soviet Union were making huge strides in developing satellites and space exploring vehicles. This development was undermining U.S. security, technology and reputation.

As the United States struggled to compete with the Soviets in developing space technology, President Kennedy proposed the Apollo program. His goal was to ultimately land a man on the moon's surface. It took just 8 years from the time Kennedy proposed the program in 1961 to the day Neil Armstrong stepped out onto the moon's surface in 1969. Not only did this program accelerate our country's science and technology development, but it also instilled a great deal of national pride in the American people.

While we watch as our reliance on foreign oil dictates our foreign policy and makes significant impacts on our domestic economy, we all must wonder how we are going to face these challenges in the short term. A significant change in U.S. energy policy that puts renewable energy development at the forefront would allow us to compete head-on with other nations. This effort would also create new jobs in the manufacturing and services industry. Most importantly, it would give Americans the sense of pride that comes from being the leader in the development of new technologies.

I hope that all of the Presidential candidates adopt the policy of creating a modern Apollo program for the development of renewable energy sources. Our nation's security, economy and environment are at stake.

Please take a second to sign the petition asking McCain and Obama to make their campaigns carbon neutral. They must know now, not later, that we are serious about real energy reform.

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