Forbes’ energy plan makes too much sense

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 14, 2008

In the halls of government, the best ideas sometimes are too simple for their own good.

While Congress wrings its hands and twiddles its thumbs on the nation’s worsening energy crisis, U.S. Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va., has offered a commonsensical, yet brilliant, plan for America to achieve 50 percent energy independence in 10 years and 100 percent energy independence in 20 years.

In short, the &uot;New Manhattan Project for Energy Independence,&uot; introduced by Forbes in the House of Representatives on June 12, would award significant prizes to any individual, group or entity who can reach one of seven established energy goals. Forbes seeks to unleash America’s best minds in creating new technologies that would eliminate our dependence on foreign oil.

That dependence is largely to blame for soaring gasoline prices and a slumping domestic economy in the short term. In the long term, it poses a serious threat to our national security.

Forbes’ bill was referred to the House Committee on Science and Technology, where it has gone nowhere.

A frustrated Forbes issued a statement Thursday challenging his colleagues to act.

&uot;Another week has gone by in Congress without any action to address our current energy crisis,&uot; Forbes said. &uot;Instead of spending our time naming historic trails, perhaps we should be debating long-term solutions that will help drive down the price at the pump and move us towards energy independence.

&uot;It’s time we address this national energy challenge with a bold initiative that gets at the scope of the problem. If the majority leadership is short on ideas, I suggest the New Manhattan Project for Energy Independence. When our nation is facing one of the greatest challenges of this decade, we need to put the partisanship aside and adopt a bold plan that will move us in the direction of energy independence.&uot;

The gentleman from southeast Virginia makes good sense — too good, we’re afraid, for an institution, the United States Congress, where the best ideas never see the light of day.