A seemingly exhausted Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton asked oil companies to play a bigger role in the energy solution and to subsidize new energy types at Houston's Presidential Summit Thursday.
Executives from oil, natural gas, wind and solar energy corporations were in the crowd at the summit. This event was intended to be a debate between Democratic and Republican presidential candidates, but only Clinton and Congressman Ron Paul accepted. However, Paul dropped out of the summit earlier this week.
Clinton said that, in terms of energy, the U.S. is making half-measures without the necessary national commitment.
She stressed Houston's national importance in terms of space and energy development.
"I want to continue to have Houston be a leader in both space and energy," Clinton said. "The Houston economy can't afford to wait when it comes to space, and America can't afford to wait for Houston when it comes to energy."
Clinton said the national energy challenge is a threefold problem of high gas prices, foreign oil dependency and climate change.
She said as president she will raise fuel efficiency standards to 55 miles per gallon by 2030, create a Green Building Fund to invest $1 billion per year in energy-efficient public buildings, which would create 40,000 jobs in Texas, and promote affordable loans for families wanting to make efficient homes.
She proposed the creation of a $50 billion Strategic Energy Fund, which would be financed by taking away tax breaks from oil companies.
Shell Oil Co. President John Hofmeister said he agrees with Clinton's requests for oil companies and testified in Congress in November 2005 that oil companies do not need tax breaks.
Hofmeister said his company has been investing in wind, solar and biofuel for the past decade.
Clinton said she will launch a GreenCorp program within AmeriCorp.
"GreenCorp will provide an opportunity for young Americans to serve their country by promoting conservation and the environment and by participating in energy efficiency projects," Clinton said.
Americans have the ability to turn the energy challenge into one of the greatest economic opportunities in U.S. history, Clinton said.
She spoke about the oil industry that boomed outside of Beaumont a century ago.
"The next great energy revolution will not spring from the ground; it will spring from the minds of innovators and visionaries," Clinton said. "It will spring from new green factories and new energy endeavors."
She said young Americans are waiting to be called to give the U.S. an energy future.
Clinton's speech comes just five days before the Texas joint primaries. Both critics and supporters of the senator say she must win the Ohio and Texas primaries on March 4 in order to win the Democratic nomination.
© 2008 Daily Texan via U-WIRE