Executive Director, Environment Texas
Executive Director, Environment Texas
AUSTIN – A comprehensive strategy to get off oil can reduce oil dependence in Texas by 180 million barrels a year by 2030, according to a new report released today by Environment Texas. This is equal to 82% of Texas oil imports from the Middle East every year.
“It is time to declare our independence from oil,” said Luke Metzger, Director of Environment Texas. “The cost of our oil dependence has grown out of control, from the outrageous price we pay at the pump, to the pollution of the air that we breathe, to catastrophic accidents like the Gulf Oil Spill and our contribution to global warming. Today’s report shows how we can get Texas closer to the day when we will no longer fear the impact of Big Oil on our paychecks, our environment, and public health.”
The policies recommended in the report include setting fuel efficiency standards that make 60-mpg cars the norm by 2025, doubling access to public transportation, and enacting policies to encourage telecommuting, smart growth, and biking and walking.
“A hundred years of energy and transportation policies that favor Big Oil companies have made our country deeply dependent on their dirty and dangerous product,” said Metzger. “Breaking their grip over our country is going to take time and the sustained commitment of policymakers and advocates, which is why we need to start now. With the world’s easy-to-find sources of oil running out—and oil companies poised to tap riskier and more difficult-to-produce sources of oil in more environmentally sensitive places—there is no better time than the present to act.”
Leading national security, public health and consumer rights advocates echoed Environment Texas’s call to action to reduce oil consumption.
“Decreasing our dependence on fossil fuel is essential to not only the future prosperity but national security of the United States,” said Patrick Bellon, an Iraq war veteran with Veterans V.I.P., a progressive policy advocacy group and consultancy. “In the 2009 Quadrennial Defense Review, the Pentagon described energy dependence as one of four major security threats facing the United States and its military. Our military has made reducing fossil fuel dependence a high priority, they are leading the way. Supporting renewable energy moves support the troops beyond slogan and into real action.”
“New transportation technologies work, as a Volt driver, I have gone more than a month commuting daily without using gas,” said Tom “Smitty” Smith of Public Citizen. “Electrified rapid transit can connect our suburbs to our cities and our cities to each other, while reducing costs, pollution and wasted time. Investments in electrified rapid transit could put tens of thousands of Texans to work for decades, but it will take leadership to make that transition.”
“It’s time to think differently,” noted Cyrus Reed, Conservation Director of the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club. “We must plan and invest in more efficient cars and trucks, alternatively-fueled vehicles and more livable communities, where residents are healthier, and where we create jobs through cycling and pedestrian infrastructure. Otherwise we risk a dwindling oil supply, higher and higher gas prices, and dirty air, land and water.”
Environment Texas called on leaders at both the state and federal level to enact comprehensive plans to reduce oil consumption. This week, Senator Jeff Merkley joined Senators Tom Carper, Tom Udall and Michael Bennet in introducing the “Oil Independence for a Stronger America Act”.
“American entrepreneurs and workers have the ingenuity and grit necessary to break this addiction to foreign oil – the challenge is whether politicians in Washington are willing to choose American strength over vulnerability,” said Sen. Merkley.
“Across the political spectrum, Texans understand the importance of getting Texas off oil,” said Metzger. “Working together, we can put this country on the path to independence from oil and create a country that is cleaner, stronger, and healthier than ever before.”