- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 8, 2003

Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman said yesterday that if elected president he would “force our country” to deal with global warming.The Connecticut senator laid out an energy plan that he said would end U.S. dependence on foreign oil in 20 years and mandate that 20 percent of all energy be produced from renewable sources like wind and solar panels by 2020.In a speech titled a “Declaration of Energy Independence,” Mr. Lieberman also said he wanted to use market forces to push car companies to develop more fuel-efficient vehicles that adhere to strict air-quality requirements.”We can drill [for oil] all we want,” Mr. Lieberman told a crowd of about 150 at Resources for the Future, an environmental think tank in Washington. “But the well will soon run dry — and our economy will be left running on fumes.”Mr. Lieberman criticized the Bush administration for “inviting the oil companies into secret meetings to write his energy plan.”He vowed that he would never allow oil drilling on the coastal shelf of the Pacific Ocean or in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.That position puts Mr. Lieberman, who was Al Gore’s running mate in 2000, at odds with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, a consistent supporter of Democratic presidential candidates.”I didn’t see anywhere in there where he called for increased domestic production,” said Jerry Hood, secretary-treasurer of the Alaska Teamsters, which supports drilling in ANWR. “I think it’s a policy that is one-sided and ill serves the American public.”Mr. Hood said Mr. Lieberman “may well suffer at the polls.” “We represent 600,000 truckers around the country, and they need an affordable supply of diesel fuel,” Mr. Hood said.Paul Portney, president of Resources for the Future, said he was pleased Mr. Lieberman identified “many of the major problems” with current energy policy, but also doubts the candidate’s ambitious energy goals can be met.Mr. Lieberman’s plan would require adherence to a level slightly below the energy production mandates of the Kyoto global warming treaty national policy. He was one of 95 senators who rejected the treaty in 1997, and none of its provisions are in force.”We’re going to rejoin the world in dealing with what is a global problem, which we contribute to more than any other nation,” Mr. Lieberman said. “Therefore we have a responsibility to not stand on the sidelines and quibble about the science, which everyone agrees on. Mr. Lieberman said he is going to offer an amendment this week with Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, to adhere to those principles.Mr. Lieberman also said he would require the U.S. power-generating industry to derive 20 percent of its energy from renewables such as wind and solar power.Myron Ebell, director of global-warming policy for the Competitive Enterprise Institute, said Mr. Lieberman would “essentially create a centrally planned economy for energy.”“The government would tell people how much energy they could use,” he said. “So if you like rationing and higher energy prices, then you should support Mr. Lieberman.”

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