Republican Officials Urge President and Congress to Adopt Energy Plan that Emphasizes Efficiency, Spares Arctic
WASHINGTON, District of Columbia, Jul. 25 - /EWire/ -- Republican elected officials and lifelong party members today launched a new inititiative, Republicans for a Responsible Energy Plan. U.S. Rep. Sherwood Boehlert joined members at a press conference, where Susan Eisenhower made her first public statement on the environment, calling for protection of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, created during her grandfather's presidency.
As Congress prepares to debate national energy legislation, Republicans for a Responsible Energy Plan released a letter to President Bush -- signed by more than 300 Republican Party members and officeholders -- urging him to put more emphasis on energy conservation, protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and return the Republican Party to its long tradition of environmentalism.
More than three dozen Republican state and local elected officials and activists also attended the press conference to lend their support.
Among the speakers were:
Susan Eisenhower, author and foreign policy expert:
"I believe efficiency and conservation are inevitable and it's a mystery to me why the Republican Party doesn't get ahead of this issue. I'm particularly interested in the drilling issue (in the Arctic refuge). I certainly don't question anyone's motives, but I have to say, this is one of our last great resources. This is precisely why the Eisenhower administration put aside this land as a refuge. A refuge to me means a land of last resort. I take my grandfather's legacy in Alaska very seriously.
"One of the arguments being used by people in support of drilling is that we need to reduce our dependence on foreign supplies. I'm happy to report that the Cold War is over. We have the opportunity to find our energy sources elsewhere while putting together a comprehensive energy plan."
Martha Marks, president of REP America (Republicans for Environmental Protection):
"We have come from across the country to announce a new initiative within the Republican Party. We're focusing on getting the Republican Party back on track and developing a responsible energy plan that the American people can enthusiastically support. We are here to urge GOP leaders to move away from the administration's fossil fuel-based energy plan. Fossil fuels are finite resources that carry terrible environmental baggage. They are yesterday's technology. We can do better.
"Instead, we want our leaders to develop a forward-looking energy plan that encourages efficiency, not waste; stimulates the development of new technologies; takes aggressive steps to curb greenhouse gases while there is still time to stave off global warming; and protects America's special places."
Theodore Roosevelt IV, managing director of Lehman Brothers in New York and Bush delegate at last year's GOP convention:
"We are here today to support and bolster moderate Republicans in the House who are soldiering forth to protect our environment and natural resources as the American people want us to do. The concern and knowledge of the American people on environmental issues has been sorely underestimated, and I fear that their patience is being sorely tested.
"When the administration talks about 'balancing' environmental and energy needs, the American people recognize a key problem: those needs are not currently in balance. We are sacrificing vital natural resources in lieu of making real investments in current efficiency and future energy technologies. That failure will undercut the competitiveness of American industry."
Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY):
"A lot of people think Republicans don't give a damn about the environment. A lot of people are wrong. The Republican Party has a rich history of environmental protection.
"The bills reported by House committees last week place increased emphasis on conservation and renewable energy … . But all in all, the current House energy package does not go far enough. It still is too focused on energy production. We need to defeat attempts to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling. We need to significantly increase CAF E standards. We need to ensure that our energy supply programs address environmental concerns. I will be working to accomplish these goals. And I will be bolstered by the knowledge of what is made so clear today -- that Republicans all across this country, from all walks of life, support efforts like mine to ensure that environmental concerns are addressed in this historic energy debate."
Russell Train, EPA administrator under Presidents Nixon and Ford:
"What is needed now is leadership -- leadership from the White House. I think the Republican Party has an opportunity to take the lead in this area, which Democrats would have trouble doing. Sort of like Nixon going to Beijing or Moscow -- he could do it.
"It does take leadership. Leadership from the Republican Party is what I think we need now."
Republicans for a Responsible Energy Plan asserts that America needs an energy policy that emphasizes efficiency, conservation and clean, renewable energy sources. A copy of the letter to President Bush, a statement by Rep. Sherwood Boehlert and a list of attendees at the press conference are available at http://www.ems.org.