Jan. 19, 2007: South Bend Tribune—Bayh-Lugar Bill Aims to Reduce Oil Dependence

Summary: "U.S. Sens. Evan Bayh and Richard Lugar are hoping that a mixture of conservation, fuel diversification and technological advances can lead Americans to independence from foreign oil imports.

Bayh, D-Ind., announced during a Thursday teleconference that he has reintroduced legislation designed to reduce U.S. oil imports by 7 million barrels a day over the next 20 years, which is more than twice the amount now imported from the Middle East.

Although the legislation failed to win passage when it was introduced in November 2005 as the Vehicle and Fuel Choices for American Security Act, Bayh expressed confidence that the time is now right for it to be successful."

While few would claim that energy independence is an unworthy goal, the bill’s heavy emphasis on "renewable" fuels like ethanol bears watching. Certainly the repercussions of using corn for fuel instead of food are already being felt by people who depend heavily on food aid. Subsidized American corn that used to be dumped on poor countries has found a better market in subsidized Midwestern ethanol plants.

Take a sniff at the bill’s provisions and decide for yourself if it smells a bit like a hog barn—and if you can live with the smell for the sake of some bacon.

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