By Mark Wolf

The solution to the nation's quest for energy security is a broad-based approach to developing liquid fuels from a variety of sources, General Wesley Clark told a session at NCSL's Legislative Summit on Tuesday.

General Wesley Clark addresses a session on energy security at the NCSL Legislative Summit."Energy is America's great strategic opportunity right now," said Clark, former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO forces in Europe and now chairman and CEO of Wesley K. Clark & Associates and co-chairman of Growth Energy Associates. "We are losing $200 to $300  billion a year to foreign countries because we have to pay to import oil. That’s a $200-300 billion tax on the United States.

"I know there are ads on television that say don’t worry about it, we're doing great. But I go to the Department of Energy and their best projection is we will not, under current policies, become energy independent."

Clark said that $200 billion to $300 billion per year, which translates to $90 billion a year in extra taxes, would pay for "infrastructure, putting kids in school, gives you corporate tax breaks, does everything you want to do in the business community and the social communities and local communities if you can be energy independent."

And, Clark asserts, that goal is reachable.

What is needed, Clark said, is "a combination of taking America’s natural resources and putting the policies in place that will encourage further investment in those resources. Fracking’s going great. Bakken’s going great. We can do enhanced oil recovery in the Permian Basin, but after all that is said and done we’ll still end up short.

"We have to maximize liquid fuel production in this company from petroleum, from biofuel, we have to use natural gas for transportation, LNG, compressed natural gas. We need to take our coal resources, that can be converted to liquid fuel, all of this so that we're not importing liquid fuel, we're exporting liquid fuel. We have to do this in a safe,smart environmentally friendly way. We need to bring environmentalists with us on this because there is no hope for America's environmental leadership if the country is besieged abroad with people who doubt the efficacy of our economic and political systems.

"God gave us these resources, we have to be smart enough to use them. We should tell all of our companies that are in this liquid fuel market, 'Stop fighting each other and get on the team and start working for America.' Our goal is to take over the world energy market. We should be the Saudi Arabia of liquid fuel."

Mark Wolf is an editor at NCSL.

Email Mark.

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This blog offers updates on the National Conference of State Legislatures' research and training, the latest on federalism and the state legislative institution, and posts about state legislators and legislative staff. The blog is edited by NCSL staff and written primarily by NCSL's experts on public policy and the state legislative institution.


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