Bill Richardson Supports Ethanol
Bill Richardson is the Governor of New Mexico and former candidate for the 2008 Democratic nomination. Of Hispanic descent, Richardson was born in Pasadena, California, but spent most of his childhood in Mexico City. Richardson graduated from Tufts University, from which he also received a Masters in International Affairs. In 1982, Richardson was elected to the United States House of Representatives. During his time in the House, Richardson focused on foreign affairs as well as on issues of importance to the Native American community. In 1997, Bill Clinton appointed Richardson United States Ambassador to the United Nations; Richardson left that post in 1998 to become Secretary of Energy. Richardson is known for his "shuttle diplomacy" and has been nominated five times for the Nobel Peace Prize. Richardson was first elected the Governor of New Mexico in 2003; he was reelected in 2007 in a landslide, earning 69% of the vote. Richardson is the author of two recent books: the campaign autobiography Between Worlds: The Making of an American Life, and Leading by Example: How We Can Inspire an Energy and Security Revolution.
Question: Is ethanol overhyped?
No. And I don’t say this just because ethanol is important in Iowa. There are some problems with ethanol, whether it’s corn-based or cellulosic. There’s some water and environmental issues. But it is far superior to fossil fuels, to oil, and to petroleum as a renewable fuel. My point is that there’s a whole range of new investments, and I favor them over oil, coal, and nuclear. I think oil, coal, and nuclear and our entire dependence on fossil fuel – 65 percent of the imported oil – is extremely unhealthy. So I put emphasis on a whole range of new sources – solar, wind, bio mass, bio fuels, bio diesels, distributed generation, fuel cells, ethanol, hydrogen – I think nuclear power has to be an option, but I don’t believe it should get the advantages it gets today with subsidies and tax incentives that the renewables don’t get which are much more promising. I also believe you need to mandate fuel efficiency standards by 50 percent by the year 2020. The auto companies and the Congress wanna go to 30, 35. I think that’s pretty pathetic. I think we need an energy revolution in this country. And I’ll also conclude with this. I’ll ask the American people to sacrifice a little bit when it comes to energy consumption, their appliances, mass transit, air conditioning. I wanna ask everybody to wear a sweater. But I do believe that we need to recognize that being so dependent on fossil fuels is unhealthy. And having such a large amount of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere, I would reduce them by 80 percent by the year 2040, 40 percent by the year 2020 with a cap and trade system that is also good for the economy, for the environment, creates green jobs when you’re retrofitting homes. I just believe that America’s trade deficit, one-third of it is because we’re paying close to $100 per barrel of oil. And so we need to shift to cleaner sources. That would be one of the cornerstones of my first year as President.
Recorded on: 11/20/07
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