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Former Sen. Allen To Parse McCain's Energy Policy At U. Massachusetts

This story was written by Michael Phillis, Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Former Senator and Virginia Gov. George Allen will speakWednesday at 7 p.m. in the University of Massachusetts'sBowker Auditorium about Senator John McCain's plan for energy independence and the importance of using America's own natural resources.

In an event sponsored by the Republican Club, Allen's speech will be entitled, "McCain, Obama and America's Energy Security: Why Obama's Energy Plan Will Undermine America."

Allen has stressed the importance of offshore drilling, clean coal and advanced nuclear technologies, as well as tax incentives for alternative energy initiatives.

"We are the Saudi Arabia of the world when it comes to coal, we ought to be using it more cleanly and efficiently," said Allen.

In early 2005, Allen was a rising star in Republican circles. According to a National Journal survey, Allen was the frontrunner for the 2008 Republican Presidential nomination. In 2006, Allen lost his Senate seat to Jim Webb.

The summer before the election, Allen received national attention for the use of the word "macaca" - a word some considered a racial slur - in reference to a videographer working for his opponent who was filming his speech.

Calling Barack Obama and Joe Biden's energy initiatives "vague," Allen has repeatedly praised McCain for his stances on clean coal and advanced nuclear energy while stressing his belief that Obama's policies will undermine America's interests.

According to Obama's campaign Web site, both clean coal initiatives and safe nuclear energy would be part of his presidential initiatives. Allen acknowledged this but questioned how much an Obama presidency would make clean coal and nuclear power a priority.

"[Allen] is a well-vetted politician and I will be curious to hear his viewpoints," Said Emma Einhorn, President of University Democrats.

Greg Collins, President of the Republican Club said Allen is a "respected voice on national energy issues."

The key difference between McCain and Obama's energy plans, according to Collins, is the level of government's involvement in alternative energy.

According to Allen, offshore drilling during is an important issue this election season.

"McCain wants to allow states, if they so desire, to explore off their coast," he said.

Allen served on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee in the U.S. Senate during his term.

A graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law, Allen broke onto the national scene with his successful bid for governor of Virginia. Allen came back from a 29-point deficit against Mary Sue Terry in 1993. Allen ran on a theme of being tough on crime with his proposal to stop granting parole, which eventually won him the election by 17 points.

"American needs to start their creative engines," said Allen. "I'm going to be pointing out differences [between McCain and Obama], I want to be talking about positive constructive ideas."

Allen said he believes that this new energy literacy will allow more people, including UMass students, to take initiative on energy issues.

"The young leaders there at UMass can be part of the solution," Allen said.