Senate 106-930. July 20, 2000. Energy and agriculture. U.S. Senate hearing.
Excerpts from this 162 page document follow:
RICHARD G. LUGAR, INDIANA
I begin the hearing by raising what I believe is a very important question: Are Americans prepared for the inevitable consequences resulting from the lack of a strategic energy policy? Does an energy policy exist with our government or with private industry that will guarantee adequate energy supplies for a growing American economy? And, if not, who will tell the American people that we are headed for lower growth in jobs, income, comforts, standard of living, and competitive position in the world? In my judgment, our Nation is facing an emerging energy crisis. Demand for energy is rapidly increasing, and supplies may not be emerging to meet this demand, even at high prices.
We are here today to assess present energy policy and determine if amendments to our policy are appropriate. And in addition to high prices at the gasoline pump, we have been alerted recently to possible shortages of natural gas, and will discuss this morning potential electrical brownouts. In reviewing our energy policy, we must consider the fact that events beyond our borders have tremendous impact. As economics of developing nations continue to grow, so will their demands for energy. Such growth will fuel the greenhouse gas problem and increase world dependence on Persian Gulf oil.
Economic growth in the United States has produced a tight market for many forms of energy. Electricity demand in the first half of the year 2000 is up 3.5 to 4% from the previous year. Over half the increase in world oil demand from 1998 to 1999 was attributable to increased United States demand for oil. The price of natural gas and diesel have risen dramatically due to increased demand, tight supplies, low inventory. We know the United States needs to build new power plants, but current plans are for these plants to be fired by natural gas. Are natural gas supplies adequate to meet that demand? At the Federal level, are we doing enough to address the transmission problems that could be associated with increasingly deregulated electricity markets? The Energy Information Administration forecasts the demand for natural gas is likely to increase by 2% per year over the next 20-years.
Energy security expert Daniel Yergen asks whether we are prepared to make the investments in exploration, new pipelines, and distribution facilities needed to meet this rapidly growing market. At the same time the demand for energy is growing, new environmental regulations are being imposed upon energy facilities and fuels, and many of these policies are needed to produce a cleaner environment. The Reformulated Gasoline Program is one example. We also need to assess our energy research and technology policies in light of the greenhouse gas problem. I have cosponsored Senator Murkowski’s legislation to further the growth of new energy technologies. Senator Daschle and I have introduced a bill to solve the MTBE problem and triple the use of renewable fuels by the year 2010. We have introduced a market trading system to allow oil companies to produce renewable fuels in the areas of the country where they can most economically be marketed.
The infrastructure needed in this country to provide for the projected increases in growth year-by-year and the time frame required for all of these things to happen are not working for us. These again and again are mentioned, that even after people make decisions, there are time lags in large capital investments. For example, the New York Times points out that even given all of the disruption of this year with regard to very high prices for gasoline and protests throughout the country, that the demand for gasoline at the pump has gone down by only seven-tenths of 1-percent.
Is there any comprehensive effort involving yourself, the President, the Vice President, everybody, to try to give some confidence to the American people that even though we have disruptions now that are fully foreseeable, and in some cases not easy to remedy, there is some overall plan? Now, you point out government doesn’t do this alone. Market forces, other countries, all sorts of suppliers, energy research still undone. But I just think there is a growing lack of confidence in the American people that those of us who are in charge have some idea. And what is suspected is that the supplies will be inadequate, that prices will continually go up, and worse still, that even at any price energy will be unavailable to some of our communities.
The thought will come that we should have done more to conserve, that in essence we have been a wasteful people, that somehow growth of jobs and industry and what have you really is not going to be accommodated. This is why I started with, who will give this news to the American people, that essentially we are now headed for a lower growth, lower comforts, hazardous level? I think that is unacceptable. I think the people are going to say, get the supplies, stop horsing around with this situation; find it, invest the money that is required, tell the truth as to how much it is going to cost, but we want to be supplied. In other words, we do not want to be constrained. There may be those in our society who would say that we are profligates and we shouldn’t want that much, but I think the majority are going to say that we do want that much. As a matter of fact, we can have that much, if we use our brains, our capital, our ingenuity, we have some framework of leadership. Now, how do you address this overall, big problem?
BILL RICHARDSON, SECRETARY. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY
I want to commend you for your singular contribution in the area of bioenergy, which could be the future for our energy security.
These are the key foundations of our policy: 1) market forces and not artificial pricing. 2) diversity of supply, 3) strong diplomatic relations with energy producing nations. 4) improving the production and use of traditional fuels through new technology development. 5) diversity of energy resources, with long-term investment in alternative fuels and energy sources. 6) increasing efficiency in the way we use energy. 7) maintaining and strengthening our insurance policy against supply disruption, the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
We need longer term solutions. We need to lower demand and ease America from its dependency on imported energy sources.
If we are to see a meaningful decline in our future reliance on fossil fuels, if we are to lessen our vulnerability to interruptions in energy supply, if we are to kindle a whole new field of agricultural and forestry economics, then we need a cooperative national effort to develop a range of renewable energy sources, and bioenergy can be at the heart of such an effort.
Creating such a vigorous market will boost demand for dedicated energy crops, providing new revenue streams for farmers and new cash flow for rural economic development. The current uncertainties on the farm and in our forestry industry could be eased by long term energy crop contracts with biorefineries. This is the focus of the bioenergy initiative, integrating the existing bioenergy and bioproducts programs within the Energy Department and the Department of Agriculture.
We have also already established the National Biobased Products and Bioenergy Coordination Office, and have produced our first integrated, multiagency strategic plan for biofuel and biopowered research. Our FY 2001 budget includes substantial increases for biofuels and biopower, $40 million at the Department of Energy and $44 million at the Department of Agriculture.
For farmers, we recently announced an initiative that affects farmers, fuel efficiency for lighter trucks. I think there is tremendous potential here. This will involve a lot of farm equipment, farm vehicles. This is an investment that we need to work with in the future.
There are also ample opportunities in wind power, which I know is of interest to this committee, and especially to Senator Harkin. Of the top 15 wind resource States, 12 are located in America’s agricultural heartland.
Dan Reicher, Assistant Secretary of Energy for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy: We are very excited about the opportunities for biomass. We are focused on programs that will allow us to use biomass to make power, electric power; to make liquid transportation fuels; we think with our large energy demand in the Federal Government itself, powering our 500,000 buildings, we think we can help drive some of these new markets for biomass and bioenergy
We urge Congress to appropriate our request of $154 million for our Weatherization Assistance Program that reduces the heating and cooling costs of low income families by an average of $200 per year to help them cope with the high prices of fuel that they are least able to afford.
I am really worried about our distribution, our generation, our transmission system. We have a grid that is a Third World grid, for a booming economy for the world’s biggest superpower. And that is going to take investing in more power, in regional transmission organizations, in more renewable energy.
The key is also a partnership with the private sector. Technology can take us to more energy security and fuel efficiency. New natural gas technology, new technology for wind, new technology for fuel efficiency, fuel cells, hybrid vehicles, cars, and SUVs that are 40-miles-per-gallon. That last technology is something that I wanted to underscore, too it should be a long term priority.
We are developing a plan, but it is going to require a national dialogue.
TOM HARKIN, IOWA SENATOR
We have had $4 billion in tax incentives for oil and gas production, for more efficient cars and homes and products. Congress hasn’t done anything — we haven’t acted on it. It has been sitting here for at least 2 or 3-years, and not one thing has been done. And Congress has not acted to reauthorize the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, either. So, quite frankly, having been in Congress for a number of years, it just seems like we don’t do anything unless a crisis stares us in the face. I remember when I was on the Science and Technology Committee in the House back in the 1970s, and then once the oil crisis was over with and the Reagan administration came, we dropped all of our research programs on alternative fuels because everyone just, well, everyone felt we didn’t need it then. And so we just drifted through another decade, another almost two decades, without understanding what was happening with our oil and gas supplies.
You know, it just seems like we get caught up in these crises, and it is sort of the old story about the alligator and the swamp. You know, you don’t really tend to think about the long term. But once again, I think we have to begin laying the groundwork and the plans for the mid and long term production of energy in this country. And again, I just want to hear from you as to your thoughts of what your department not only is doing but what you think we should be doing in the area of biobased fuels and bio-based energy production in this country, and what the potential is for wind.
KENT CONRAD, NORTH DAKOTA. I think we function in a crisis mode, that is more typical than not for Congress. But a crisis response is not going to work, because when you head over the cliff and are in a brownout, you can’t respond quickly enough. That is the hard reality that we confront. There are long lead time investments that need to be made to expand capacity in oil and gas, expand capacity in renewables and all the rest. Mr. Richardson, I remember when you warned years ago there we were headed for trouble, outlined a series of steps that needed to be taken, including incentives for greater production and incentives for renewables, and unfortunately precious little has been done by the Congress in response to your repeated warnings
TIM JOHNSON, SOUTH DAKOTA. This requires a long term plan, and I appreciate the discussion that has taken place here relative to a consensus that we do need less reliance on imported petroleum, but I would have to observe that we need less reliance on petroleum, period. This is a finite, nonrenewable source of energy. So long as this is a finite fuel, so long as we continue to be significantly reliant on foreign nations, we are going to continue to be vulnerable to market shocks such as we have just witnessed this year. I think that we are going to continue to be vulnerable until we become far more serious than we have been with development, research and development of alternative renewable fuels, with a particular eye on agriculturally based fuels.
JAMES SCHLESINGER, FORMER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE AND ENERGY
The first point that I would like to make, and I want to emphasize this point, is that all too frequently we use the phrase ‘‘energy policy’’ or ‘‘national energy policy’’ as a kind of incantation, as a talisman that will ward off distress in the energy area. But we must recognize that an energy policy will have to choose a specific goal or goals, and that means sacrifice of other objectives. In the past, starting with the Arab oil embargo, with President Nixon’s Project Independence, all through the 1970s the great stress was on reducing dependency on foreign oil imports, reducing dependency on OPEC. That has become less relevant from a national security standpoint than it was in those past decades, because of the collapse of the Soviet Union, and therefore the collapse of the Soviet threat to the oil tap in the Middle East, and also because of the Gulf War. Saddam Hussein will be the last Middle East potentate to seek control over the oil supplies of the Middle East. That is not to say that the national security objective has gone away. Oil affects both our foreign policy and our foreign policy calculations, but it is far less serious than it was in the 1970s when there was a Soviet Union.
In the intervening years we have moved away from that willingness to use government intervention in the attempt to reduce dependency on foreign sources of supply, and towards reliance on the market. Sometimes it is presented as if reliance on the market were a free good that solves problems. It solves some problems; it creates other problems. Prices in the marketplace, as we have just experienced, will fluctuate, and when prices go up, consumers are unhappy. When prices go down, producers are unhappy. Avoiding price fluctuations, of course, implies that one controls the market, which is the opposite direction from which we have moved. Also, we depend upon price signals, price signals to create the new infrastructure for expanded capacity. We will not have expanded capacity until those prices go up, and as a consequence, at this time we have problems with the infrastructure for our energy industries, perhaps most immediately, the infrastructure facing the electric power industry in what Secretary Richardson referred to as the ‘‘Third World’’ grid. The reason that we have that, Mr. Chairman, Senator Conrad, is that we moved enthusiastically into competition in the electric power industry without considering the need for expanded capacity in the grid. And as cheap power moved around in the grid, we discovered that we were operating at close to 100% of capacity. If we want to move towards competition and move cheap power around the country, we have got to be prepared to take national measures to encourage strengthening of the grid.
Why are we producing less natural gas? Because the price signals earlier were not right to encourage the drilling activity that is necessary to have the degree of deliverability that is essential to have ample supplies. Moreover, we have a very high depletion rate with regard to natural gas, depletion rates of 30%, sometimes greater, and that means in order to sustain the present level of production, we must find 7-trillion cubic feet a year. That is going to be quite a major effort. So these matters are a reflection of, in large degree, the decision to move towards reliance on the market mechanism. That has many advantages, but it does create the potentiality for price spikes.
Ideally, governments will be flexible and they will anticipate change. We have not been very good at that. I would have thought that the energy problem and environmental problem might have fallen under the purview of the National Economic Council. It may be desirable to have an additional body to coordinate within the Government. The first rule, it seems to me, is that of Hippocrates, which is ‘‘do no damage,’’ or do as little damage as possible. It is clear, I think, that we have changes in our policies that are serious changes. For example, the Project Independence of President Nixon stressed nuclear power. In the subsequent years, to say the least, the stress on nuclear power has gone away. Both President Nixon and President Carter stressed coal conversion. In the light of change, changed attitudes towards greenhouse gases, going towards coal is less than an ideal policy, and national policy has changed as a practical matter. But, in addition to these serious changes in policies, we change policies capriciously, and that, it seems to me, is something that can be avoided. One of the great advantages of a focus on the long run as you suggest, is that it will hold down these capricious changes in policy.
Enhancing the reliability of the grid would be the first thing that I would worry about. I would particularly worry about it because of the possibilities of cyber warfare. The existence of the grid, the reliability of the grid, is a prime target in asymmetric warfare, as a war game of the NSA showed a few years ago, ‘‘Eligible Receiver,’’ in which hypothetically power was shut down along the East Coast. This would have a devastating effect on the country, and worrying about the reliability of the system is particularly germane at this time. Expanded capacity, it will come only as a result of pressure on the industry, because it is uneconomical. Once again, the price signals are not there, Mr. Chairman. It is uneconomical to expand capacity unless there is pressure to bring about capacity expansion.
Last year oil prices had hit $10 a barrel, which had basically crushed the desire to invest in exploration in the world outside of OPEC and forced us to become more dependent on Middle East sources of supply, such that when demand revived, there was less spare capacity around the world. The benefits of last year, as it were, with regard to fuel prices, are part of the cause of the high prices of this year, and we should as a country be looking at ways to stabilize prices. That may include the imposition and then the reduction of taxes on gasoline, for example, such that the price is more stable than it has been. It puts a terrible burden on an independent producer, as being the most dramatic example, to have these kinds of price fluctuations while they are operating on narrow margins.
SENATOR LUGAR. We have had a debate in the past on nuclear energy, and we haven’t had much of a debate recently. The whole issue has been how can we store waste from the past, not do you extend or expand nuclear energy in this country. Other countries are having that debate and are expanding the use of nuclear energy. Now, it could very well be, as we raise this, that the emotions involved in this, or the practical problems of storage of the unspent fuel and the debate we are still having over where it is to go and under what circumstances. But up front the public needs to know this is a big issue, that this is one way in which some energy might come to some parts of the country. Another, as you say, is in the coal conversion area. Clearly, for reasons you have mentioned, the greenhouse gas debate, other environmental considerations, coal has not been favored, certainly soft coal. Some hard coal, on occasion, but nevertheless cost is involved in that, and availability. But there is a lot of coal left in the country
This is why the biomass area, which at best, as we heard today, by 2010 might formulate 10% of our power, not a solution but still an incremental change that at the margins is helpful, given the big figure for energy in our country, and there does appear to be a lot of promise there of renewable supplies.
I mentioned in my opening statement we invited the Saudi oil minister to testify. He is prepared to respond to questions in writing. But one point that he and others have made, with OPEC, is that with the exception of the Saudis and perhaps slightly more capacity in Kuwait, they are already going full steam. So, in essence, they are pointing out this is still a worldwide supply and demand problem in which they do not bear the onus, at least in their judgment, for having precipitated the prices. But it is an interesting point of view, and we will have the record replete with those thoughts.
ROBERT KERREY, NEBRASKA. I appreciate, Mr. Secretary, your historical analysis and presentation of how easy it is for us to sort of lose sight of the fact that we still have significant dependency on foreign sources, even though OPEC has weakened, and that it is very important for us, if we want to be productive and we want to have higher standards of living, we still have to have energy to produce those higher standards of living. And we in Nebraska are very much aware of that.
HARRY S. BAUMES, Senior VP for Industry & Agriculture, WEFA, INC. In the farm operation, whether crops or animal production, farmers demand energy inputs for different types of energy inputs, different types of production activities. Planting, harvesting, primarily require diesel fuel or fuels to operate equipment. Electricity powers irrigation systems milking parlors, air conditioning and dryers. Natural gas and liquid propane powers dryers too. Gasoline, diesel, and lubricants are necessary to run equipment. In the aggregate, farmers expended on direct energy inputs an average of over $9 billion per year between 1996 and 1999. By my calculations, that is nearly 5.5% of total cash expenses and about 5% of total production expenses. Estimates of energy expenditures on cash costs are expected to rise considerably for the year 2000. By my estimates, we are looking at a rise in direct energy costs of close to $2.5 billion, pushing the figure to almost $12 billion for the year 2000. Total cash expenses are also estimated to rise, but at a slower rate, so as a consequence we are looking at direct energy costs to increase their share of total cash costs to about 7% from 5%.
Indirect usage by agriculture reflects the amount of energy consumed in production of manufactured inputs, primarily fertilizers and pesticides. Farmers use millions of tons of fertilizer and millions of pounds of pesticide. Fertilizer production, particularly nitrogen production, is extremely energy-intensive. Anhydrous ammonia, the primary feedstock to produce fertilizers, nitrogen fertilizers, is also a product used by farmers. Every ton of ammonia produced in the U.S. requires somewhere between 33- to 34-million BTUs of natural gas. For the past 4-years the price of natural gas has been fairly stable and energy costs in ammonia production have accounted for 75% of the total production cost. Now, more recently, energy prices facing the fertilizer producers are closer to $4 per million BTU of gas, and this has raised the cost considerably. In the absence of being able to pass these costs on to farmers or to buyers, 15- to 20% of the U.S. ammonia capacity has shut down in response to these higher gas prices. Energy-intensive fertilizers and crop chemical costs account for about 43% of the variable cash expenses for corn production, 35% for wheat production, and 40% for soybean production. Couple these with the direct energy costs of 10- to 15% for these crops, and you can clearly see that energy is an important input to agriculture.
TOM HARKIN, IOWA. And right now USDA estimates that direct fuel expenses for farmers will increase by $2.5 billion or 40% this year compared to 1999—40% compared to last year. Higher energy prices are also reflected in the greater costs for grain drying, fertilizer, pesticides. The Iowa Farm Business Association estimates that higher energy costs will add more than $1,300 to this year’s expenses for a 660-acre-corn-and-soybean farm. So any actions that can be taken to alleviate the impacts on farmers would certainly help.
Renewable sources now constitute only about 3% of U.S. energy supplies and only about 1.2% of gasoline, but our reliance on foreign petroleum is growing dramatically, to the point where we now import about 60-percent of our petroleum. We are far more reliant now than we were in the 1970s.
Renewable fuels like ethanol and biodiesel enhance our energy security. They increase farm income. They create jobs and economic growth in rural communities. There is also tremendous potential in biomass such as switchgrass, and wind energy, which is a growing industry.
Drill, Baby, Drill. Let The Market Solve All Problems
CHARLES E. GRASSLEY, IOWA. The Senate Energy Committee tells us about two-thirds of the known supply of, on-tap supply of natural gas is under Federal lands, and we have seen this trend, because so much of exploration, so much of our country has been taken off bounds for exploration. And when you have lower supply, you have higher prices, obviously. Isn’t it about time that we start looking at encouraging greater exploration in the continental United States? Are we concerned about less reliance upon importation of energy or are we not? And the extent to which we aren’t, and we are always going to be terribly too dependent upon it, but we can do more, and alternative fuels are one of those, and tax credits are one. But when we aren’t making adequate use of what God has given us, it seems to me we ought to. We decimated the exploration and oil drilling business. Last month the number of rigs exploring was down once again, I don’t know whether down to a particular historic low. Qualified people to work in the industry are down. It is very difficult to find the type of people you need. Just the last few years of not being able to explore as freely as in the past has put us in a condition where, even if the change in policy came now, there would be a long lead time to get back to where we ought to be, to find more sources of domestic production.
BENNETT JOHNSTON, former U.S. SENATOR FROM LOUISIANA, Johnston & Assoc., LLC
I was last talking about oil here in the Senate we were importing about 50%. We are importing 56% now. EIA says we are going to import 70% by 2020. So anybody who thinks you are going to reverse that trend is—I mean, I have been hearing this for over a quarter of a century. Nixon’s energy independence was no foreign imports, and it is all a pipe dream. I mean, we don’t have the oil and gas in this country to avoid it.
The problem is one of volatility, and it is a serious problem, and I think the problem is likely to get a lot more serious as we face blackouts, brownouts, rapid escalation in the price of natural gas and continued fluctuation in oil. The question is, what do you do about it? I would say that you should avoid impeding market forces. It is a great temptation.
Let me give you just one example of the current solution du jour for dealing with the problem, and that is the Northeast heating oil reserve. It proposes to take 2-million-barrels, which Secretary Schlesinger says is not enough—it is a pretty good amount—but put that in a government storage. Now, what is wrong with that? Well, first of all, heating oil has got to be turned. You can’t keep it there for years like you can the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. It will chemically degrade if you don’t turn it. Typically, private people turn it five times a year. The government would do so less often, probably once a year.
So the Government will go out and procure storage. Where are they going to get it? Private sector. They don’t have any themselves. So they are going to take out of private sector storage the 2-million-barrels which they will buy. Then that will actually take out of use some 10-million-barrels. If they turn it five times and they have got 2-million-barrels, you take out of use 10-million-barrels in order to get 2-million-barrels of government reserves. Then what is the Government going to do with it? Well, the Government presumably would let it go in times of high prices. Well, you can guarantee high prices because the private people who—it is expensive, you know, to procure and store, private storage. If they see the Government with 2-million-barrels out there overhanging the market, they are not going to put in their usual amount of heating oil. They are going to put in less. So you create the shortage and then you have got to figure out how the Government is going to release it and what kind of regulations you have. I mean, are you going to let people buy it and then resell it at a higher price? It recalls the crude oil allocation problems of the 1970s. I can predict, Mr. Chairman, it is going to be a grand and glorious mess if they do it. Looks like they are going to do it.
And it is not going to work, and when it is not going to work, then they are going to say, ‘‘Well, we didn’t have enough in storage, we’ve got to get more,’’ which is only going to exacerbate the situation. Same thing is true on the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. We created that for the purpose of dealing with serious supply interruptions, not price spikes. The Congress is simply not capable of setting a price which is a proper price and adhering to it. And then the market gets used to that supply, and it makes matters worse rather than better.
What can we do? Let me suggest a number of very simple things, not easy to do, maybe, but they are simple.
You need to drill in those places where you can drill: Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. I cannot understand why this Congress will not drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. There is no commercial fish there. Caribou is no problem. Right next door in the Prudhoe Bay they drilled, and the caribou population went up 700%. That ought to be proof enough. There is enough oil there, we think, to at least reverse the decline. We drill out in the Gulf of Mexico, which has over 1-billion-pounds-of-commercial-seafood, great recreational areas. No recreation up on the North Slope. I can’t understand why we don’t drill there. We ought to be drilling in places like, for example, Lease Sale 181 out in the Gulf; in the Destin Dome. Let me tell you, in the Destin Dome, my company, Chevron, has a lease out there. I don’t Destin Dome, my company, Chevron, has a lease out there. I don’t miles offshore. We think there are over 2-trillion-cubic-feet of natural gas. Florida has said you can’t drill out there, and it is due for a decision by the Secretary in, I think, next month. This being a political year and Florida being a big State, you can predict how that is going to come out. This is natural gas. It can’t spill. You can’t see it from the beach. It is serviced out of Alabama. And yet Florida says we can’t drill there. And let me tell you, Florida is going to have a natural gas shortage.
When you are talking about reliability, you have got to build more transmission, first of all. That is the biggest thing, because our electricity industry grew by a group of local companies which, you know, it might be State-wide, it might be multi-state, but they were local, and their reliability margins were set by their public utility commissions, and they didn’t basically send a lot of energy outside of their own grid. Now we are interconnected, imperfectly and not well interconnected, and you need to build much more of that transmission. It is going to be a very, very serious problem, the problem of transmission, as well as the problem of additional electricity generation. One of the problems there is there are no more—you can’t go out and buy a turbine now. G.E. has got all of its turbines bought up for years to come. Intergy, in a very smart move, I think, bought them all up. And so if you want to build a new gas-fired power plant, which is the cheapest and the best way to do it now, you have got to wait in line for a long time to get your turbine. So things are going to get worse in electricity before they get better. We ought to do something about siting, siting plants, siting pipelines. It takes too long. In California, let me tell you, people are pulling their hair out in San Diego now over the price of energy because they are way—the price has spiked way up because there is a shortage of supply and there is a transmission problem. We need to speed that along, the siting.
You need to pursue the nuclear option in this country. You can talk about renewables, but renewables are going to be a small part of the solution. Nuclear is 20% of our electricity now, and could be much bigger. It doesn’t cause any greenhouse gas problems. And if you lose what you have now, you are going to exacerbate that natural gas price problem, because the reasonable prices for natural gas depend upon keeping your present nuclear facilities going.
So you are going to have political energy problems, but in the strongest way I can tell you, stick to the basic policy of market forces. We do have an energy policy which was procured at great political loss of blood, and it is called market forces. We need to perfect that, preserve that, and expand it.