Central to our national mission is the mandate to build for future generations. We now know, however, that many of our present patterns of development and growth are both economically and environmentally unsustainable. The long-term health, security and prosperity of our nation and world require a transition in how we think about our relationship to energy use and natural ecosystems.
The challenge to create a clean energy future is not only about preserving the earth's beauty and resources for our children and grandchildren; it is about generating millions of new jobs, jump starting our economy, and improving the health and quality of life for our families and communities. America can lead the way in this shift to a cleaner, more sustainable future. But we need to embrace forward-looking policies that recognize the critical intersection between environmental sustainability, economic growth, national security and public health.
Climate Change, Jobs and the New Energy Economy
For the first time in our post-industrial history, it is possible to power our economy more efficiently and with greater economic gains by employing clean energy technology and practices. This development means we can now harness market forces to confront the dual threat of climate change and energy dependence. In Congress, I will support strategic policies and investments to promote this crucial transition from a carbon-based and energy dependent economy to one that is clean, self-sufficient, and can generate millions of good-paying jobs across every skill and education level.
Investing in Efficiency and Innovation. The path to a new clean energy economy requires notable increases in energy efficiency and greater access to renewable energy sources. To achieve this we will need to invest in multiple sectors of our economy. Specifically, we should focus on increasing the fuel efficiency standards of our cars and trucks; retrofitting commercial buildings and homes; and long-term extensions of the production and investment tax credits, incentivizing further research and development in solar and wind. By taking these steps we can immediately create hundreds of thousands of manufacturing, installation, and maintenance jobs.
Education and Workforce Training for the New Energy Economy. The path to a clean energy future will require a skilled workforce of engineers, scientists, computer programmers, technicians, builders, electricians and mechanics, all working together to rebuild and power a cleaner, more efficient society. We must focus on our investments in public education and workforce training, so that young people and a transitioning workforce have the knowledge and skills necessary to design and build the infrastructure of the new energy economy.
Standing Up to Big Oil
It is a sad fact that much of our current energy policy is skewed to the interests of big oil companies who spend billions of dollars to manipulate public perception and buy off career politicians. In Congress, I will stand up to these companies and their lobbyists. Instead I will support policy rooted in sound evidence and the best interests of the American people.
No on Offshore Drilling. The potential benefits of offshore drilling are easily outweighed by the profound risks posed to our oceans and coastal economies. In Congress, I will fight for more promising energy solutions that can move us further and faster towards our goals of environmental sustainability, economic prosperity and national security. I will also support greater oversight and regulation to ensure existing operations are held to the highest standards of safety and accountability.
Smarter, Safer Alternatives. The transition from a carbon-based to a clean energy future will not happen overnight, and so we must continue to explore the smartest and safest measures to maximize domestic oil and natural gas production. Enhanced oil recovery (EOR) techniques, for instance, can yield as much as ten times the amount from existing oil fields as is projected to come from offshore projects, and the benefits are immediate as opposed to the decade or more it takes to generate new oil flow offshore. While this approach is not a long-term answer, it represents the potential for realistic and fruitful compromises as we continue to develop clean and renewable technology solutions.
Building Healthier Communities, Protecting our Resources
The transition to a clean energy future is not only about reducing energy dependence and combating global climate change; it is about improving the health and quality of life for our families and protecting our environment.
As a father, I have no greater responsibility than making sure I leave our world better off for the next generation. As a doctor, it's my job to listen to my patients, understand their challenges, and work with them to make the necessary decisions. As a person of faith, I know it is our responsibility to protect and preserve the planet with the utmost of care.
In Congress, I will work closely with county and city officials, developers, business and community leaders to ensure our region has a voice to fight for the resources we need to implement the development goals outlined in our Regional Blueprint.1 With strong, locally-rooted Congressional leadership, I am confident we can accelerate these efforts to create more livable and energy efficient communities. In the process, we can support the health and quality of life of our families, while also transforming our region into a national leader in the new clean energy economy.