Washington Life Magazine
Washington Life Magazine

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scientists warn that this is a critical moment in the history of civilization and that the Earth is warming at a dangerous rate. Likewise, security experts – like former CIA Director James Woolsey – say that our dependence on foreign oil may become a national security risk. Representative Edward Markey has long been a champion for common-sense environmental and energy security  legislation. This year, he was appointed as chair of the newly created Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. Washington Life caught up with Markey on Capitol Hill to discuss pending legislation on global warming and energy security.


Environmentalists have argued that if we raise fuel economy standards by only 10 miles per gallon, we would not need oil from the Middle East. Is this true? Is it also true that the Model T car achieved better fuel effi ciency standards than some U.S. cars? If both of the above are correct, then why hasn’t the federal government mandated raising fuel effi ciency standards by 10 or more miles to the gallon?

REP EDWARD MARKEY That is correct. If we increase the fuel economy standards for the American automotive companies from 25 mpg – where it is today – to 35 mpg, then by the year 2020, we will back out of the equivalent of all of the oil which the U.S. today imports from the Persian Gulf. That would be a very powerful signal to send to OPEC. It would tell them that the U.S. is going to use technology as a weapon to reduce our dependence upon imported oil. Over the years since the Model T, the auto industry has spent too much of its time fi guring out how
to make cars bigger and more powerful and not enough time trying to determine how to make them more effi cient and to run on less gasoline. The debate that we’re having in our country right now is how – as a nation – to work smarter and not harder. We need to use technology to solve our problems so we don’t get deeper and deeper into OPEC’s debt by importing oil.

WL: There are two important energy bills in the House and the Senate. What do you hope the results will be?
EM: The fi rst key provision in an energy bill would be to increase the fuel economy standards of our automotive fleet to 35 mpg. The second would be to increase the amount of electricity that we generate from renewable energy (like solar) to 15 percent by 2020 and to increase the amount of cellulosic fuel (fuels from crops) that we can put into the gas tanks of Americans. That increases the percentage of our fuel that comes not from the Middle East but from the “Middle West.” Those factors – combined with the efficiency of the appliances that we use and the new homes, businesses and commercial structures that we build – would be a tremendous down payment.

WL: What are the obstacles standing in the way of this goal?
EM: The American public overwhelmingly wants to see dramatic change using technology to solve our problems. Unfortunately, there are



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