Forbes’ “New Manhattan” amendment clears committee

Rep. J. Randy Forbes, R-Chesapeake, has the lone Republican amendment to the Democrats’ Energy Tax Bill, which is being considered today. Out of 200 submitted, his amendment was the only one to clear the Rules Committee. It will be considered today by the full House, effectively as the GOP alternative.

Should the amendment pass, it replaces the current version of the bill with Forbes’ proposals for United States to reach 50% energy independence in 10 years and 100% in 20 years.

The legislation also will award competitive prizes to the first individual or group who can reach any of seven established energy goals:

– Double CAFE standards to 70 MPG while keeping vehicles affordable
– Cut home and business energy usage in half
– Make solar power work at the same cost as coal
– Make the production of biofuels cost-competitive with gasoline
– Safely and cheaply store carbon emissions from coal-powered plants
– Safely store or neutralize nuclear waste
– Produce usable electricity from a nuclear fusion reaction

Update from Rep. Forbes:

Yesterday afternoon, I offered my New Manhattan Project for Energy Independence bill as an alternative to the national energy tax bill. My amendment would strip the language of the national energy tax and instead challenge our nation’s best and brightest scientists to find solutions that will jumpstart America’s economic recovery and bring about a new energy future and a cleaner environment….

My plan addresses high gas prices and puts our nation on a path to being a leader in reducing carbon emissions while invigorating American competitiveness and creating lasting economic security for our businesses and families. Take a look at what Newt Gingrich says in his book “Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less” about my New Manhattan Project for Energy Independence:

“What we need is a Manhattan Project for energy breakthroughs – a program to foster bold scientific innovations and transform them into engineering achievements in record time. As it turns out, there is a proposal in Congress to create just such a project: Congressman Randy Forbes’ bill for a New Manhattan Project for Energy Independence. This calls for the creation of a scientific commission that would develop a plan to have us 50 percent energy independent in ten years and 100 percent independent in twenty.

Crucially, the bill depends on the private sector, innovative entrepreneurs, and our brightest engineers and academics to devise solutions. The government plays a critical role by helping them with grants and sparking competition by offering huge cash prizes for the key breakthroughs. In the end, however, a new Manhattan Project for energy can only work if it depends on the unparalleled innovation and resourcefulness of the American people.

A Manhattan Project for energy requires that the government set a clear vision with concrete goals and provide the incentives and grants to achieve them. If we challenge the American people to devote their best and brightest citizens to solving this crisis, it can be done faster than we ever imagined possible. But we need leadership and a bold vision for energy independence from our government for such a project to succeed.”

Calls and emails continue pouring in my office in opposition to the national energy tax. With gas prices at a 2009 high, I am hoping my colleagues will join me in standing for a new energy future – one that relies on innovation, not taxation.