Poll: How important is U.S. energy independence to you?

We’re talking about U.S. energy independence, which Jay Hakes, a senior official at the Energy Department during the Clinton administration, described in The New York Times as “a prize that has long been eyed by oil insiders and policy strategists that can bring many economic and national security benefits.”

  • Robert Moffitt

    Energy independence is important for the United States, but it should be achieved wisely, and with an eye toward improving our environment and health.

    (Full Disclosure: I work for the outdoor air division of the American Lung Association in Minnesota, which supports the use of alternative fuels and cleaner energy and transportation options).

    We once used coal just about everywhere — factories, transportation, direct heating of homes and workplaces. Today, we only use coal to generate electricy, and there are better and cleaner ways to do that now. We need to wean ourselves off of coal, once and for all.

    Likewise with petroleum. We have to find cleaner-burning and renewable alternatives to oil. Here in Minnesota, we have had some success in breaking our addiction to oil. We need to do more.

    While there are environmental concerns with natural gas, it is the cleanest-burning fossil fuel, and makes a good alternative to diesel fuel in large vehicles like buses and garbage trucks. Propane is another option.

    Improvements in mass transportation and energy efficency will help, too, and just make good economic sense.

  • Kendra

    I agree with Bob.

    (full disclosure: I like trees and clean air and water)

  • Michael

    The goal of “energy independence” to me is a public relations campaign intended to further the goals of the fossil fuel industry of mining more carbon. Your poll results indicate that it’s working quite well.

    The question of becoming energy independent isn’t as important as how we can wean ourselves off of mined carbon while keeping the economy from collapsing. At 400 ppm of carbon dioxide we’ve already surpassed the benchmark of 350 ppm at which scientists have agreed that this civilization is sustainable. We show no sign of slowing down this pollution, but appear to be accelerating. We can easily and cheaply convert coal to oil, and mine the tar sands, but at expense of drought, flooding, food production, and our children’s chances of survival into old age.

    If we continue this path I can only recommend that we open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to condo development.

  • Robert Moffitt

    “We can easily and cheaply convert coal to oil, and mine the tar sands…”

    Actually, we can’t do either of these things easily or cheaply. While we have known how to create an oil-like fuel from coal (the Germans did this during WW 2), it’s not an easy or efficient process. Likewise for recovering Tar Sands oil, which only began to be exploited when all the “easy” oil was gone, and the worldwide price of oil went up.

    While I don’t take the threat of global climate change lightly, I’m an optimist who believes we will find a way not to destroy the planet and ourselves. Let’s hope I’m right…

  • Lee

    “energy independence” per say is unimportant but the goals behind energy independence; keeping oil prices more stable, keeping money used to enrich hostile or dubious regimes within the country, are important issues. Whenever I hear the term “energy independence” I always cringe as the term suggest an amorphous reality where all the energy we use is produced within the U.S. and that always needs to be addressed as people, at least most of the people I interact with, will frequently misunderstand what is being said.