Rep. Markey's approach to achieving oil independence

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Post's editorial board seems to think that we must punish consumers to cut America's oil dependence and carbon pollution ["$7 a gallon?," editorial, March 5]. I fundamentally disagree.

America's oil dependence already punishes us enough, whether through volatile gas prices or the political and environmental volatility that results from buying and burning oil. Last year, America sent $250 billion overseas to buy oil, much of it to countries that do not like us very much. That is nearly half of our trade deficit. The editorial said that the Waxman-Markey bill "wouldn't do all that much to slash American oil consumption in the near future." But according to the Energy Information Agency, the bill would cut projected U.S. oil use by more than 600,000 barrels per day by 2020 (about the same as our current combined imports from Russia and Libya) and more than 1.2 million barrels per day by 2030 (nearly all of our current imports from Venezuela).

Congressional Democrats believe that the solution to our oil dependence and carbon pollution should be comprehensive. Increased fuel efficiency, cleaner renewable fuels and a new clean-energy policy established by the Waxman-Markey bill could enable America to finally tell Middle Eastern oil suppliers that we don't need their oil any more than we need their sand.

Edward J. Markey, Washington

The writer, a Democrat from Massachusetts, is chairman of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.

© 2010 The Washington Post Company