July 3, 2008

Texas Senator Pulls for Energy Change

By Hayley Cox, Amarillo Globe-News, Texas

Jul. 2--The United States must launch a national movement to attain energy independence over the next 10 to 15 years, U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison said Tuesday.

With energy prices rising at an alarming rate, Hutchison said the country must embark on an ambitious effort to wean itself off foreign oil.

Invoking President Kennedy's call to place a man on the moon, Hutchison said the U.S. must invest in renewable energy, nuclear power and expanded offshore drilling.

The two-term Republican spoke Tuesday to the Amarillo Globe-News editorial board as part of a series of stops in the Panhandle.

In wide-ranging discussion, Hutchison also addressed her possible candidacy for governor and her name being mentioned as a running mate to Republican presidential candidate John McCain.

American families and small businesses feel the strain of high costs because energy supply remains static while demand in India and Asia continues to rise, she said.

Hutchison upholds renewable resources like solar power and wind energy as main components of the energy independence effort.

Texas Tech University researchers are investigating the use of underwater windmills to harness the energy of currents and tides, she said. Congress will also reinstate production tax credits for wind energy producers, Hutchison said.

Hutchison touts nuclear power as a clean, efficient and low-cost relief to energy shortages. Providing loan guarantees for investors and shorter regulatory periods for plants will encourage reliance on nuclear power, she said.

Hutchison hopes the Pantex plant in Amarillo will become more involved in nuclear energy and waste management as research and technology improves.

"Pantex will be solid in the future," she said. Hutchison also discussed her possible inclusion to McCain's list of running mates.

"I don't want a future in Washington," she said. "In fact, I'm really promoting other people like Mitt Romney and Meg Whitman," a former president and CEO of eBay.


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