The Crestone Eagle, November 2005:

U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar spoke in Saguache on energy concerns
by Lisa Cyriacks

US Senator Ken Salazar took Monday, October 10, to spend time in the San Luis Valley and spoke to current issues facing the nation. Salazar prefaced his comments with comments regarding his pleasure to be serving citizens of Colorado and the pride he takes in the work he has accomplished so far.

The topics most on his mind are the rising costs of fuel and the impact of an energy bill passed by the Senate in July, especially on rural communities. Although the Senate recently passed the first comprehensive Energy Bill in 30 years, a strategy for a short-term emergency plan to deal with these out-of-control energy prices also needs to be developed. Salazar encouraged, “The only immediate realistic solution is for all Americans to adopt a strong ethic of conservation. I am working on ways we can begin to do that.”

Salazar acknowledged that there was criticism of the bill from some sectors, citing it as a “give away to oil industry” (this references the section of the legislation that promotes a program to build the Petroleum Reserve, provides incentives for oil and gas production, and provides for oil and gas activities on federal land). He, however, chose to speak of the positive aspects of the legislation.

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 sets forth a program to push for diverse energy research and development. He stressed the importance of conservation and the fact that the bill supports promotion of energy efficient practices and products—indicating that he also felt that the federal government should lead by example in promoting these practices.

Of primary concern was the link between dependence on oil and national security. Over the past thirty years since the first oil embargo the United States has doubled its dependence on oil. Salazar spoke of the need for the “rhetoric to end” and of his personal request made to George Bush to require CEOs in the oil industry to share in America’s sacrifice by not profiteering from the Iraq war and recent events such as Hurricane Katrina.

Salazar stated that the most exciting part of the legislation for him personally was the emphasis on renewable energies and incentives for creating new technologies. Salazar emphasized: “The research and creation of new sources of energy is a very important initiative for rural America.” He envisions the San Luis Valley providing good opportunities for projects that supply energy needs using renewable resources, such as bio-fuels, possibly solar energy collection or wind generation or tapping geothermal resources in the valley. Such projects would also stimulate the local economy and create jobs.

The Senator took questions from the audience that reflected the diverse interests and concerns of valley residents: recent proposed legislation that steps back protection of National Parks, voting reform, privatization of public assets such as Social Security reform and the rumored sale of Federal lands to pay for emergency assistance for Hurricane Katrina, reforms to the Endangered Species Act, increasing federal debt, rising costs of health care, and reduction in funding to important social programs such as Head Start, and Homeland Security.

Senator Salazar ended the meeting reiterating his commitment to do his best to represent the citizens of Colorado—putting the interests of people ahead of party interests and the partisan politics of Washington D.C. He welcomes input on all topics and invites valley residents to participate in two upcoming summits: an Economic Summit in December and a Summit on Renewable Energy in January.

For information on upcoming valley meetings and events sponsored by US Senator Ken Salazar, contact his Alamosa office: 609 Main Street, #110, Alamosa, CO 81101, phone: 719-587-0096. Staffing the office is Charlotte Bobicki, Regional Director. Or you can email Senator Salazar directly using the web form at: http://salazar.senate.gov/contact/email.cfm.

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