Bachus puts focus on renewable energy

Published 3:01 pm Wednesday, August 6, 2008

During Tuesday night’s town hall meeting, Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) claimed he’s not smart enough to fix the nation’s problems. However, as he spoke at Helena City Hall, he said he’s smart enough to see that some of those problems, such as energy production and the economy, can be eased by nuclear energy.

“This is the key. This is the whole enchilada,” he said. “Solar energy is going to help us. Wind energy is going to help us. But we can almost do it all on nuclear energy alone.”

Bachus spoke for an hour on different renewable energy sources and why he believes nuclear energy is the country’s best bet to produce its own energy.

“There are no greenhouse emissions from nuclear energy,” he said. “It’s cheaper and safer. And nuclear energy is made right here at home.”

If one nuclear plant was built in Alabama, it would bring in 6,000 high wage construction jobs for 10 years, as well as almost 900 permanent jobs, $300 million in taxes for the state and lower utility bills for Alabamians, Bachus said.

He also addressed concerns about nuclear energy, referring specifically to Chernobyl.

“At Chernobyl, they didn’t’ know how to run the reactor,” he said. “Also, there was no containment. They didn’t have containment. That would never happen here.”

Whatever people may decide about nuclear power, the United States needs to make a change to some type of renewable energy resource soon to ease the country’s dependence on oil, Bachus said.

Gas prices have mobilized the electorate like nothing else, with people sending in gas receipts to show how badly they need help. One man’s gas bills totaled $89 per week, Bachus said.

“We are not going to stabilize the housing market with gas at $140-$150 a barrel,” he said. “That, to me, is what’s wrong with the economy right now.”

Demand for oil will just continue to rise, Bachus said.

“We will need 25 percent more energy than we use now by 2030. The world will need 50 percent more energy by then,” he said. “If we fight a war with China, it’ll be over oil. Because we need it desperately and they need it, too.”

Bachus supports “The American Energy Act,” which would permit drilling in restricted areas, expand the use of solar, wind, coal and nuclear energy and promote the use of other alternative energy sources.

“This is not about politics. We have to stop blaming each other,” he said. “There may be things I may not like, and there may be things (Democrats) might not like.”

Bachus also said energy production was essential to homeland security.

“Some sources of oil are unfriendly or even hostile,” he said. “The more imports we bring in, the more risk of confrontation.”

Helena City Council member Cris Nelson said she learned from Bachus’ speech.

“I think nuclear energy is a viable option,” she said. “There’s a lot of negative context when people think of nuclear energy, and those negative connotations need to be investigated.”