Executives' Plans to Cut Foreign Oil DependencyDecember 13, 2006 - by Donny Shaw
A group of 16 corporate leaders have announced a plan to decrease U.S. dependence on foreign oil in half by 2030. The plan basically contains two main points: increase the efficiency of cars and trucks, and increase drilling off the shores of the United States.
Their plan’s strength is not in their ideas necessarily, but in the people who are backing them. The group consists of executives from the chemical, trucking, and airline industries, as well as prominent ex-military leaders.
Heightened standards on fuel efficiency have received opposition mainly from Republicans, while offshore drilling has been opposed mainly by Democrats.
As FedEx CEO Frederick Smith said, energy policy is in an “almost perfect deadlock.” The group’s idea seems to be to push these issues through on sheer strength of support. It won’t be easy though. They are pushing for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refugee, as well as for offshore drilling circa as found in a previous House bill that had no real chance at passing even through the Republican-led Congress.
Smith acknowledged that some of the recommendations would be difficult to get through Congress but noted, “To talk about the free market solving this problem is not realistic.” Smith said U.S. dependence on foreign oil is the greatest threat to national and economic security, second only to the proliferation of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction. Council co-chair and former Marine Corps Commandant P.X. Kelley said, “We’re going to be very persistent” in pushing for the recommendations. “Everyone can find parts of this that they don’t like,” said council member Robert Hormats, vice chairman of Goldman Sachs. But the impact of an energy crisis would exceed “the short-term discomfort of making some of the changes we’ve suggested,” he said.