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Earl Blumenauer

To Address Demand for Oil, We Must Focus on Transportation

9:19 AM PDT on June 21, 2010

4592120939_8898c25834.jpgThe
consequences of our transportation policy. (Photo: U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency
via Flickr)

Editor's
note: Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) sent us this commentary on the
the BP oil spill, climate change and the need for transportation
reform.

Last week, President Obama delivered his first speech from the Oval
Office on the single greatest challenge our nation faces: how we supply
and consume energy.

The searing images we’re seeing from the Gulf Coast -- of the
families who lost loved ones, of people out of work and of oil-coated
birds and dolphins -- are daily reminders of what’s at stake when we
drill, baby, drill.

The truth is that we are drilling 150 miles offshore and one mile
below the earth’s surface because we have run out of accessible oil.
Most shocking is how small a difference this oil makes to our energy
needs. The 35-60,000 barrels spewing daily from the Gulf floor would be
enough to power our nation’s cars for just four minutes.

Whether from the Gulf of Mexico or Persian Gulf, we cannot meet our
nation’s energy needs by drilling. We are at a precipice, and I stand
firmly with President Obama when it comes to Congress passing
legislation that arms the nation with clean energy.

But frankly, we need to do more on these issues, especially by
addressing transportation
and how we build in our communities.

The
transportation sector accounts for almost three-quarters of U.S. oil
consumption and one-third of our carbon emissions. If we really want to
break our dependence on oil and improve our global competitiveness, we
must focus on the way people commute and move goods.

Being truly
aggressive about where and how we build can save even more money and
energy -- with the potential to cut carbon pollution 12-16 percent by
2030 and save more than a million barrels of oil a day.

This is not the first thing that comes to mind for most people, but
to ensure our energy security, we need a comprehensive approach. I hope
this becomes part of the future message and, more importantly, a key
focus of Congressional action.

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