Outline For A National Energy Plan
Andrea Zinga, Republican candidate for U.S. Congress in the 17th district, speaks to the media Thursday afternoon at the Knox County Courthouse.
Zinga outlines energy plan
Candidate calls for new refineries, coal gasification
Friday, June 9, 2006
BY JOHN R. PULLIAM
GALESBURG - While agreeing alternative fuels are important to the 17th Congressional District, Republican candidate Andrea Zinga said Thursday new refineries should be built in the U.S., plants should be built to convert coal into diesel fuel and drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge may be something she can support. Zinga, standing at a picnic table on the east side of the Knox County Courthouse, outlined short- and long-term solutions to the nation's energy problems. She said one short-term solution is to stop buying oil for the Strategic Oil Reserve.
"It would be wise to sell a portion of it while prices are high and buy it back when prices are low," Zinga said. The former TV news anchor said one set of "tough" national environmental regulations should be developed to replace the 16 regional rules now in place. Admitting that ethanol and wind power are important to this area, Zinga said "this is just nibbling on the edge of the problem."
Zinga said the last oil refinery built in the United States was during the Gerald Ford administration. "Refinery technology has improved so much," she said. "We can and should build refineries. We could also create some jobs."
She said those jobs would not be in this area, but pointed out new jobs, even in other areas of the nation, are important.
Coal gasification also was touched upon. "We have vast reserves of coal in this country," Zinga said. Coal mining is a source of jobs in the southern portions of the 17th District. As for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, "I would not drill in ANWR until I have all the information Congress has," Zinga said, but it is apparent she is leaning in that direction. Zinga said that out of 20 million acres of land in the wildlife refuge, drilling would take place on only 2,000 acres. She said that would produce about 1.5 million barrels of oil a day.
"That's what we import from Saudi Arabia," Zinga said as she stood in the sunshine in front of a handful of reporters... She said many people said the Alaskan Pipeline would not withstand earthquakes and would harm wildlife, such as caribou. Zinga said the pipeline has done fine and, based on what she now knows, she thinks the result would be much the same in the Arctic. She said she is tired of people saying what will not work.
"I get very tired of people having the 'we can'ts,'" she said. "We can do what we set out to do."
Although Zinga said it is probably not realistic to ever expect the U.S. will be 100 percent energy independent, she said coal gasification, ethanol, new refineries, etc., could lead to a day when "we're not at the mercy of the Mideast."