Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Little known fact: It’s illegal for the U.S. Government to buy oil extracted from tar sands.

It’s also illegal for any part of the federal government to buy oil derived from oil shale.

Why is this?

In 2007 President Bush signed the Energy Independence and Security Act. Section 526 of this law requires that the federal government “not enter into contracts that would lead to the purchase of synthetic, alternative, or nonconventional fuels with higher global warming-related emissions than conventional fuels.”

Former Senator John Warner testified last week on behalf of this law and urged Congress to keep it—because it’s working. He said that the law “has been an important catalyst [for the Department of Defense’s] efforts to reduce our reliance on foreign oil and find alternatives such as advanced biofuels to increase energy independence and security.” DoD is the largest energy user in the federal government and it is also one of the leading energy innovators in the U.S.

Some of the worst energy sources include oil extracted from tar sands and oil shale. This is because of the enormous amount of energy required to process these materials and get the oil out. By contrast, crude oil would have to be classified as a clean energy source.

There have been strong efforts to overturn this law, but people like former Senator Warner and Congressman Adam Smith of Washington state have worked hard to preserve the law.

It is only with laws like this that Americans will have incentives to seek cleaner sources of energy and wean ourselves off of foreign oil. As we know, the cleanest energy sources are those we can tap into right here at home including solar and wind energy.

Thanks to the U.S. Government for taking a stand against oil from shale or tar sands and taking a stand for less carbon emissions from our energy sources.

If such energy is bad for the government, isn’t it bad for all of us?


This post, by Jim Breitinger, originally appeared at STAND FOR LESS.

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