Common Energy Cause Brings Together Unlikely Allies
oil prices are uniting unlikely allies in a campaign to change American energy policy. A bipartisan coalition -- including an increasing number of defense hawks -- is backing policies to curb petroleum use, a cause generally associated with environmental activists.
Today, 26 former national-security officials from Republican and Democratic administrations will send a letter to President Bush calling for "a major new initiative to curtail U.S. consumption" by improving the fuel economy of U.S. autos and developing alternatives to fossil fuels. The group asks the federal government to spend as much as $1 billion on the effort over the next five years -- "a level proportionate with other priorities for our nation's defense."
"The price at the pump is not all we're paying right now. We are also paying $400 billion for a defense budget," says Robert C. McFarlane, President Reagan's national-security adviser and a signer of the letter.
Frank Gaffney, another signer and former Reagan official who heads the Center for Security Policy, a national-security think tank in Washington, adds: "I don't often find myself in agreement with those at the Natural Resources Defense Council, but I'm delighted to have them joining us in this initiative because I do think there is common ground. There is now a critical mass of national-security-minded people coming together to make the argument that this is no longer something we should do at some point." Reducing U.S. oil consumption, he says, is "no longer a nice thing to do. It's imperative."
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