Rising prices at the pump are focusing more and more attention on the future direction of the nation's energy policy. YNN's Bill Carey says it is an issue that is drawing close attention from the two likely candidates for in a Syracuse area race for Congress.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Republicans are hoping that those trips to the gas station are slowly building voter anger. Anger that will translate into support for a new approach to energy policy.
Congresswoman Ann Marie Buerkle says she sees that anger growing as she meets with people like business leaders to talk about the issue.
Buerkle said, “The cost of energy, for these folks, in one way, shape or form, is so profound it affects their bottom line. And that's their frustration and that's their concern.”
Buerkle rejects calls for more support for alternative energy resources and an end to subsidies for big oil and gas companies. She says that approach hasn't worked.
“The government needs to stop picking winners and losers. They need to get out of the way and let the market work,” Buerkle said.
The State University's College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse is heavily involved in research into alternative energy resources. One of the courses they offer deals with the environment and politics. The man teaching the course is the man who will run against Ann Marie Buerkle this fall.
“Well, one of the best ways to lose the forces of the market would be to end the subsidies that oil and gas companies are currently getting, that is increasing the deficit, but Congresswoman Buerkle has refused to vote against,” said Dan Maffei.
Maffei argues that the government should be very careful about what research it does fund, but he says it's no time to turn our backs on new sources such as solar or wind power. And, he says, the movement must continue to reduce the nation's dependence on fossil fuels. It's another case of starkly different approaches being advocated by the candidates in the new 24th District.
“Number one, I don't think we should be weaning this country off of anything. We have, in this country, oil reserves and natural gas reserves that could make this country energy independent,” Buerkle said.
Maffei said, “ Clearly now that we've seen almost two years of Ann Marie Buerkle, we certainly know that her positions are extreme, out of step with the district.”
Two very different approaches to an issue that shows no signs of going away.