- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 23, 2002

Sen. John Kerry yesterday accused the Bush administration of using Americans' disdain of foreign oil dependence to rally support for the president's energy plan.
"The proponents are more interested in arousing our fears than in discussing the facts," the Massachusetts Democrat said in a speech to the Council for National Policy.
Increasing domestic oil production or drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) would increase rather than decrease foreign dependency, Mr. Kerry said.
"Big oil and its allies have lusted over the refuge for two decades. With each attempt they make up new arguments for despoiling a unique and irreplaceable arctic environment for a quantity of petroleum that simply will not reduce the fact of our dependency on high risk foreign oil," Mr. Kerry said.
Drilling in Alaska would not reach peak production for another two decades and "cannot possibly impact the war we wage today," Mr. Kerry said.
Instead, Mr. Kerry said the administration should focus on alternative and renewable fuels instead of trying to "drill our way out of the problem."
The focus should also shift to higher fuel-efficiency standards for passenger vehicles, tax incentives for alternate fuels and more mass transit. Solar and wind energy should also be explored, Mr. Kerry said.
Kenneth Adelman, a national security official during the Reagan and Ford administrations, said Mr. Kerry's plan is more about increased government regulation and an ineffective throwback from the 1970s.
"Well, I do think we should drill our way out of the problem, and if that's the extreme position of the administration he is painting, then I would lift up my hands and say guilty as charged," Mr. Adelman said.
"It's better than betting on faddish ideas that have not panned out. Solar windmills are good if you're Don Quixote, otherwise, I just don't see it," Mr. Adelman said.
The White House has not reviewed the Kerry proposal, but a White House spokeswoman told the Associated Press "the president welcomes the opportunity to engage in a productive debate on energy policy."
The president's energy plan has passed the House but was blocked in the Senate last year by Majority Leader Tom Daschle, South Dakota Democrat. Under pressure from union leaders within his party, Mr. Daschle said he will allow debate and a vote to go forward this year.
However, Mr. Kerry says he will filibuster any energy package that includes drilling in ANWR. He is also capitalizing on the issue as a fund-raising tool for his re-election campaign this year.
Mr. Kerry last month sent letters to his supporters asking for campaign contributions.
He is presently running unopposed to retain his Senate seat, but is testing the presidential campaign waters.
"The pro-drilling interests have made it clear that they will stop at nothing to see me defeated in 2002," Mr. Kerry wrote in the letter. "I don't for a minute take their threats idly. It's not wise to underestimate the size of their campaign coffers or the relentless nature of their attack ads.
"With your special year-end help, we can show them not only that we're willing to stand up to their attacks but also that we have the resources we'll need to wage a winning campaign," Mr. Kerry wrote.

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