Lamont on Energy

Where else do you differ with Lieberman?

One of the crucial issues confronting our country is energy independence, and its corollary: global warming and the environment. I thought after 9/11 we had a real unique opportunity to deal with those twin issues in a serious way. Instead the president invited the lobbyists to Dick Cheney’s office and we ended up with the energy bill that gave away tens of millions in subsidies to the oil producers, very little for energy conservation and efficiency--and Sen. Lieberman supported that bill. Between Iran and that energy bill, that’s two big reasons you’ve got gas at over $3 a gallon now.



Are you going to work to build a campaign that is energy efficient?

I am going to work to espouse policies that move this country towards an energy policy that promotes conservation, and alternative fuels and the least harm to the environment. You're the guy that has the 40-year itch, and I think 40 years out, in the environment and with energy, I see a world with 6 billion people. Two billion in the industrialized nations are sucking up all the fuel, and causing environmental damage and global warming, and I see another 2 billion coming on line. That's India, China, and some of the other emerging tigers. It is going to be a non-stop battle for oil and other energy sources for this generation. You are going to see pollution and global warming that grows exponentially, unless we think globally and work with our neighbors to find an alternative to this addiction to fossil fuels.

Will we see you taking a train from Greenwich when you have a campaign event in New Haven?

I have a hybrid. My hunch is that I have so many places to go that I have the same dependence on the automobile as other Americans. That is just a fact of life right now.

As a senator, what policies can you think of that can help wean us from our addiction to the auto?

I think of how conservation was at the top of the policy agenda back in the 70s and 80s after first oil shock. We saw economies and efficiencies we were able to achieve. Energy conservation belongs at the top of the agenda. One mechanical way I think about as a business person is trying to show energy investors how we can get a consistent rate of return off of energy sources like wind, biofuels, natural gas, and hybrids. How can we make the economic playing field such that they have a stronger theory over time? That's enough that this early stage of time [in the campaign].


What is your perspective on what we need to be doing in terms of our energy situation?

9/11 was a terrible tragedy, but also it was a new start for this country, and we missed an opportunity to get serious about energy independence, energy conservation and global warming--they're all tied together. Instead, Bush passed the energy bill. It was a terrible piece of legislation loaded with tax giveaways to the oil producers and the nuclear lobby. This bad piece of legislation was overwhelmingly opposed by the environmentalists out there and supported by Sen. Lieberman.

First and foremost, we ought to be looking at conservation, we ought to have tax incentives for conservation and we ought to make that a national priority. Secondly, we ought to have tax incentives for renewables. That's how we're going to free ourselves from, as Tom Friedman said, paying for both sides of the war on terror with our addiction to foreign oil.