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Is drilling the #1 priority? Crickets in the room …

September 12th, 2008 · No Comments

The Senate held a Bipartisan Energy Summit today with some of the nation’s top experts (from MIT, Google, CSIS, CERI, and Shell’s CEO). (Although, regrettably, the nation’s top energy expert, Sarah Palin, was unable to attend and bring her deep knowledge and wisdom to the table for conversation.) And, this hearing was reasonably (even very) well attended. Senators Dorgan, Bay, Landrieu, Domenici, Bingaman, Pryor, , Conrad, Dewine, Salazar, …. It is a very rare Hill hearing that has so many of the principals at the table. The room was, in addition, standing room only with literally hundreds of people in the room and several tables full of journalists (and bloggers). And, to be honest, people actually seemed to be paying attention to questions, to speakers, with Blackberries dominating the attention of just a few of members and not that many in the audience. An indication of the political (and, hopefully, substantive) interest and importance of the issues at hand.

There is, from a session like this, reams of material to discuss. Substantive, social, political, almost without end. While there will be more to come out on this event, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse provided perhaps the best moment. His question and comment to the panel:

WHITEHOUSE: Gentlemen, we’re in the middle of a near total mortgage system meltdown in this country. We have a health care system that burns 16 percent of our GDP, in which the Medicare liability alone has been estimated at $34 trillion. We’re burning $10 billion a month in Iraq.

This administration has run up $7.7 trillion in national debt, by our calculation. And there is worsening evidence every day of global warming, with worsening environmental and national security ramifications. In light of those conditions, do any of you seriously contend that drilling for more oil is the number one issue facing the American people today?


WHITEHOUSE: No, it doesn’t seem so.

Whitehouse then went on to ask a very thoughtful question about where some of the best options might be for quick steps to change the game on our energy situation.

Note: Excellent post at ThinkProgress with video.

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Tags: Energy