Last week, the highest level extra-governmental group ever convened to address any public policy challenge met in Washington, D.C. to announce the launch of their new organization – the United States Energy Security Council – formed to advance American energy security. This bipartisan group of 20 influential former cabinet officials, military personnel, retired Senators, and prominent business leaders, includes three PSA Advisory Board members – Robert C. McFarlane, former National Security Advisor, John Lehman, former Secretary of the Navy, and Gary Hart, former Senator (D – Colo.).
At their launch event, USESC founders emphasized the importance of finding solutions to the nation’s current energy dilemma and described the risk associated with America’s reliance on oil as a sole transportation fuel. Across the bipartisan panel, members agreed that, in the interest of national and economic security, America must pursue strategies to diversify the fuel sources used in transportation – eliminating the decades old monopoly that oil has enjoyed in the U.S. transportation sector and diminishing the strategic importance of this resource. McFarlane was certain to point out, however, that the group is not “anti-oil,” but more accurately “pro-fuel choice.”
The depth of this group’s bipartisan membership – drawing from the Carter, Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Clinton, and George W. Bush Administrations, the U.S. Senate, all three military branches, academia, and Fortune 500 leadership – shows the seriousness of America’s energy challenges and is evidence that the will exists among U.S. security, business, and political leaders to work across the aisle to find solutions.
While J. Bennett Johnston, former Senator (R – La.) and USESC member, acknowledged the difficult partisan atmosphere in Washington, he argued that there is still optimism in the halls of government. That optimism, he said, is based in the energy field where Republicans and Democrats can agree on the need for a way forward.
In the case of the USESC, the answer to high energy prices and unreliable fuel supplies is the introduction of viable alternative fuels for U.S. vehicles, including ethanol and methanol. Competition among different fuels, the group said, is the key to creating a new, affordable, reliable American energy sector – one not beholden to the price of oil and actions of producers thousands of miles away.
At the event, Hart described current U.S. energy policy as a doctrine of buying fuel from a market controlled by dangerous places hostile towards American interests and periodically fighting wars to protect America’s access to those resources.
Across the board, the organization’s Republicans and Democrats concluded that periodically suffering from drastically shifting fuel prices, annually sending billions of much-needed U.S. dollars to foreign markets, and sacrificing American lives and treasure to protect global oil supply lines in places like the Persian Gulf has made the nation vulnerable security wise and economically.
For more information, you can visit the U.S. Energy Security Council website www.usesc.org.