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Former Sen. Allen Speaks About Energy Policy And Election At U. Massachusetts

This story was written by Tina Lagerstedt, Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Former Virginia Governor and United States Senator George Allen spokeWednesday night at a talk titled 'McCain, Obama, and America's Security' at Bowker auditorium at the University of Massachusetts.

The event attracted about 90 people and was sponsored by the UMass Republican Club and the Young American's Foundation.

Allen characterized next week's election as a very important day for Americans and that there are five battleground issues that will be significantly affected by the next president.

The five issues he mentioned were: the war in Iraq, immigration, healthcare, taxes and energy policy. Although he briefly touched upon each issue in broad terms and contrasted the viewpoints of Senators John McCain and Barack Obama, he transitioned to focus on energy - the primary topic of his lecture.

Allen began his discussion about energy noting that it is an issue of 'great, paramount significance' in many ways. He mentioned the various areas that are affected by energy, such as national security, trade, American families, businesses and the standard of living.

He said that the American public wants 'affordable, reliable, clean American energy.'

But Allen parted ways with the main political consensus on energy with his views on American reliance on energy.

"Americans are not addicted to oil," said Allen. "Americans are addicted to freedom."

He added that freedom of movement, affordability and availability of energy appeal very strongly to the American public.

He said many of the energy proposals out there are very similar and he reasoned that Americans need to 'restart their creative engine.'

While talking about different solutions that are currently proposed, Allen expressed dissatisfaction with the 'cap and trade' solution that has been proposed for the last eight years.

'Cap and trade' is a system whereby economic incentives are offered to reduce pollution. Allen said that 'cap and trade' proposals will actually hurt the economy of developing countries that are trying to raise their standard of living and that the idea is not supported by the majority of countries around the globe.

Allen also believes that global warming was not caused by man and is result of a natural change in temperature.

Allen also proposed several solutions to America's energy problems. The first solution he mentioned was the idea of 'ground transportation.'

He noted that the internal combustion engine will not be used for much longer and that hybrid and electric cars are much better alternatives. Although he touched upon several other ideas, including hydrogen fuel cells, biofuels and ethanol, Allen maintained that hybrid and electric cars are the best solution.

Allen's second proposal was coal, which currently makes up a large portion of America's electricity supply. He added that coal is substantially less expensive than other fuels, such as natural gas, which can cost up to four times as much.

He noted that coal is in abundant supply in America and needs to be used creatively and effectively. Allen also spoke about the importance of nuclear energy being used in a non-wasteful way.

Allen advocated strongly for lifting the federal ban on offshore drilling. He maintained that each state should be able to determine if they want to take part in offshore drilling, but that it would create tax revenue that could be used for improving infrastructure and education in the state.

Throughout his speech, Allen made many comments about the creativity and innovation that America can produce. He specified that the advances made in anotechnology could make significant progress towards developing better batteries and solar devices.

He also mentioned the idea of 'practical conservation and common sense' for Americans when dealing with energy. Although he feels there shouldn't be an across-the-board mandate, he does recommend the use of innovative technologies in government buildings such as college dorms and hospitals.

Allen ended his speech by noting that we need various solutions to the energy problems of America. He concluded that there is 'no single silver bullet' and that we need 'silver buckshot to address energy problems.'

Allen was Governor of Virginia from 1994 to 1998. He won a seat in the U.S. Senate in 2000, unseating the Democratic incumbent. Allen served on various Senatorial committees, including the Foreign Relations Committee and the Energy and National Resources Committee.

Allen lost his reelection to the Senate in 2006 by a very narrow margin to current Senator Jim Webb. He was a frontrunner as the Republican nominee for the 2008 presidential race in 2005, but fell behind before the primaries. Currently, Allen is a Reagan scholar in the Young America's Foundation.

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