Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry says it’s time to end U.S. dependence on Mideast oil, as a matter of national security. Kerry talked with Radio Iowa by phone just before he outlined his ideas on energy independence this morning during a speech in Cedar Rapids.Kerry says the entire U.S. economy could be “entirely crippled” by foreign interests who control the oil industry. Kerry says as a result, our economy is a risk from war, terrorists or cartels. He says “no foreign government can embargo clean, domestic, renewable sources of energy, and no terrorist can seize control of them.” Kerry says the U.S. military is held hostage to oil interests, and our ability to pressure a country like Saudi Arabia is “clearly compromised” by our dependence on Saudi oil. Kerry says his plan would put an end to the Bush Administration energy policy that is “of big oil, by big oil and for big oil.” Kerry says it’s critical to end U.S. reliance on Mideast oil within the next decade, and he says President Bush has resisted efforts to shift from fossil fuels to renewable sources like the wind or ethanol.Kerry says the federal government currently spends about one-point-eight billion dollars on subsidies for fossil fuels, while spending just a fraction — only 40 million — on alternative and renewable energy sources. Kerry would set new federal standards to improve the fuel efficiency of American-made vehicles, and offer tax incentives to both those who buy and those who make more efficient cars and trucks. Kerry proposes the goal of having two-and-a-half million hydrogen-powered cars on the roads by 2020. Kerry would also use the royalties paid for drilling rights on public lands to bankroll research on cleaner sources of energy. Kerry says America has gone through these sorts of transitions before, like in the 1880s when the country made the transition from wood to coal, then later from coal to oil, then recently from oil to a hybrid of oil, natural gas, nuclear energy and other sources.
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