Congressman Represents Energy Option

Rep. (D-Wash) Jay Inslee sees Congress as "brain dead" on issue of fuel efficiency.

Published: 20-Feb-2003

Jay Inslee, D-Wash., presented an alternative-energy proposal last night to about 50 supporters. He had previously introduced the proposal in Congress, and discussed its details with UW students and community members in Parrington Hall.

The proposal, the New Apollo Project, calls for creating a new U.S. shift to clean-energy production, rather than remaining dependent on fossil-fuel energy.

The plan contains three key objectives. The first goal of Inslee’s proposal calls for reducing America’ dependence on foreign oil, which would increase homeland security and reduce American casualties in the Middle East, he said.

Inslee represents the 1st Congressional District in Washington state. He graduated from UW in 1973 with bachelor’s degree in economics.

“I went to the University during the turbulent times of the Vietnam era,” said Inslee, waiving Wednesday’s Daily, which contained a front-page article about students being arrested while attending an anti-Iraq-war protest. “and I see nothing’s changed.”

During his presentation, Inslee focused largely on the second objective of his plan, an attempt to alleviate accelerating rates of global warming. Inslee noted the increasing number of scientific studies that report declines in the range of ocean specie, and melting of the polar ice caps, which would endanger the habitat of the polar bears, projected to disappear in 30 years. He discussed greenhouse-gas effects on Northwest ecology –– threatening salmon extinction –– and an anticipated 40 percent to 50 percent reduction of snow pack.

Inslee also addressed present national policy toward fuel efficiency and proposed tax breaks for fuel-efficient industries.

“Refusal to increase fuel efficiency shows that we are all brain dead in Congress,” said Inslee. He argued that a 3-gallon-per-mile improvement should make the entire Arctic-oil exploration unnecessary.

“We go backwards with that: we should all rot in hell, basically,” he joked.

Inslee cited examples of Japan leading in automobile-efficiency technology, Germany’s bet on solar-cell energy development, and Danish experiments with wind power. Embracing these technologies is comparable to the introduction of Boeing in the beginning of an aerospace-industry boom, according to Inslee.

Finally, the proposal should spark tremendous benefits for the U.S. economy, by ensuring its involvement in the technologies crucial in the future global economy.

Inslee plans to tour the nation to ensure that every democratic presidential nominee says this issue is on the line. To increase awareness in Congress, he co-founded a Congress Climate Change Caucus that has so far attracted some Democrats and a handful Republicans. The visit to campus was designed to rev up the local environmental community. Inslee pitched an idea of producing a documentary about U.S. climate-change policy.



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