Senate Democrats

Bush Republican Policies Have Weakened America’s Energy Security

Seven years of Bush Republican policy failures have weakened America’s energy security. America’s dependence on oil undermines our national security interests by funding terrorism and hostile nations, as well as limiting America’s strategic options. America’s economy is so dependent on oil – and our energy infrastructure is so vulnerable to natural disasters and attacks – that high prices and other crises can cripple our nation. But the biggest threat to America’s energy security is our continued reliance on fossil fuels, which contributes overwhelmingly to man-made global warming. President Bush and his allies in Congress have had seven years to strengthen America’s energy security, but have done just the opposite. Democrats believe we must invest in alternative energy in order to end our dependence on oil, stem the tide of global warming and strengthen America’s energy security.

America’s dependence on oil undermines its national security interests:

Dependence on Foreign Oil Compromises U.S. National Security. “Since 2001, America’s dependency on foreign oil has steadily increased even as the cost of oil has more than doubled…[America is] compromising its foreign policy objectives by funding unstable or hostile regimes in oil rich regions that threaten its national security.” [Center for American Progress, Energy Security in the 21st Century, 7/2006

U.S. Oil Dependence Finances Terror. American oil dependence enriches countries such as Saudi Arabia which harbor charities, nongovernmental organizations, mosques, and banks that have funded terrorist groups around the world. Former CIA director James Woolsey described the Saudi-sponsored Wahhabism and Islamist extremism as "the soil in which Al-Qaeda and its sister terrorist organizations are flourishing." [Institute for the Analysis of Global Security] 

Dependence on Global Oil Supply Limits Strategic Options. “All consuming countries, including the United States, are more constrained in dealing with producing states when oil markets are tight.  To cite one current example, concern about losing Iran’s 2.5 million barrels per day of world oil exports will cause importing states to be reluctant to take action against Iran’s nuclear program.”  [Council on Foreign Relations, National Security Consequences of U.S. Oil Dependency, 10/12/06]

Hostile Nations Are Enriched by Flood of Oil Revenue from Sales to America. “The control over enormous oil revenues gives exporting countries the flexibility to adopt policies that oppose U.S. interests and values.  Iran proceeds with a program that appears to be headed toward acquiring a nuclear weapons capability. Russia is able to ignore Western attitudes as it has moved to authoritarian policies in part because huge revenues from oil and gas exports are available to finance that style of government.  Venezuela has the resources from its oil exports to invite realignment in Latin American political relationships and to fund changes such as Argentina’s exit from its International Monetary Fund (IMF) standby agreement and Bolivia’s recent decision to nationalize its oil and gas resources.  Because of their oil wealth, these and other producer countries are free to ignore U.S. policies and to pursue interests inimical to our national security.”  [National Security Consequences of U.S. Oil Dependency, 10/12/06]

Revenue from Oil Sales to America Has Been Used to Undermine Local Governance and Promote Instability. “Revenues from oil and gas exports can undermine local governance. The United States has an interest in promoting good governance both for its own sake and because it encourages investment that can increase the level and security of supply. States that are politically unstable and poorly governed often struggle with the task of responsibly managing the large revenues that come from their oil and gas exports.  The elements of good governance include democratic accountability, low corruption, and fiscal transparency. Production in fragile democracies, such as in Nigeria, can be undermined when politicians or local warlords focus on ways to seize oil and gas rents rather than on the longer-term task of governance. Totalitarian governments that have control over those revenue flows can entrench their rule.”  [National Security Consequences of U.S. Oil Dependency, 10/12/06]

 The American economy is dependent on oil, making it vulnerable to high prices:  

Bush Has Failed to Reduce the Nation’s Oil Dependency. “America’s oil addiction has worsened. Since 2001, America’s dependency on foreign oil has steadily increased even as the cost of oil has more than doubled. The Bush administration’s approach to this challenge has been to concede that there is a crisis while opposing new policies or strategies that would change the status quo. In his 2006 State of the Union address, President Bush declared that America is addicted to oil, but in the days and weeks that followed his administration failed to adopt a new energy policy or support adequate funding for new initiatives that would significantly reduce the country’s oil dependency.” [Center for American Progress, 8/06

High Oil Prices Can Cripple the American Economy “America now faces a crisis of historic proportion: a liquid transportation fuels crisis. Oil, the lifeblood of our economy, is in increasingly short supply and oil and derivative product prices have recently soared to record levels.” [Southern States Energy Board, Building a Bridge to Energy Independence and to a Sustainable Energy Future, 7/06

U.S. Oil Dependence Allows OPEC to Set and Sustain High Oil Prices. “Global oil reserves are concentrated in a volatile region of the world, with 60% of reserves in the Persian Gulf region. Partly as a consequence of this concentration of low cost reserves, OPEC producers are able to exercise market power, functioning as an imperfect (“clumsy”) cartel and at times maintaining oil price well above estimated competitive levels. The strength and influence of this cartel grows and declines, largely in relation to cycles of growth in global import demand and OPEC market share. Nonetheless, OPEC’s production or pricing decisions can impose sustained economic costs over many years and can exacerbate, or ameliorate, short-run supply shocks.”  [U.S. Department of Energy, Estimating the Energy Security Benefits of Reduced U.S. Oil Imports, 2/28/07]

America’s oil supply is not secure – vulnerable to natural disasters and terrorist attacks:  

Natural Disasters Highlight America’s Vulnerability to Disruptions of Oil Supply.  “Tightening oil markets and record high prices have brought U.S oil vulnerability back into focus, and hurricane Katrina demonstrated how quickly oil supply disruptions can impact the country. More serious supply disruptions will likely occur in the future, caused again by natural forces like Katrina, or by terrorist acts, or purposeful rationing by the OPEC cartel and rogue nations such as Iran and Venezuela.”  [Southern States Energy Board, Building a Bridge to Energy Independence and to a Sustainable Energy Future, 7/06

U.S. Is Vulnerable to Terrorist Attacks on Oil Transportation Infrastructure.  “The tankers, pipelines, and trucks required to import oil from foreign countries to the United States is the Achilles heel of U.S. transportation. This complex system is a constant target for Al-Qaeda and its affiliates and a disruption could have a massive impact on global oil prices.”[Institute for the Analysis of Global Security] 

Much of World’s Oil Passes Through Vulnerable “Choke Points” That Could be and Have Been a Target for Terrorism. “A large fraction of the world’s traded oil already passes through a handful of strategic choke points, such as the Strait of Hormuz. The infrastructure for delivering oil has several potential weak links, including major oil processing facilities that are vital yet vulnerable to attack and difficult to repair.” [National Security Consequences of U.S. Oil Dependency, 10/12/06]

Global Energy Infrastructure Remains Dangerously Vulnerable. “The global energy infrastructure and distribution channels have not been adequately protected or modernized. The global energy infrastructure and the distribution channels used by the United States and the entire international community remain dangerously vulnerable; yet, no comprehensive strategy for protecting and modernizing them has been implemented…Terrorist attacks, in particular, pose a grave threat. In a videotape released last December, deputy al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri singled out energy infrastructure as a key strategic target for his followers. Just two months later, suicide bombers in Saudi Arabia attacked the Abqaiq oil processing facility, where two-thirds of the country’s output – 6.8 million barrels per day – is refined.” [Center for American Progress, 8/06]

President Bush’s energy policies have continued America’s reliance on fossil fuels, worsening global warming:

2005 Energy Bill Gave Billions in Subsidies to Fossil Fuel Industry. “On the eve of the 35th anniversary of the first Earth Day, the House of Representatives has passed a grossly porkified energy bill that doles out billions in subsidies to fossil-fuel industries, shortchanges alternative energy and efficiency initiatives, and indemnifies makers of the gasoline additive MTBE against liability for groundwater contamination. And this time the bill may actually have a chance of passing in the Senate, perhaps as early as next month, after years of stalemate.” [, 4/22/05]

Union of Concerned Scientists Estimated Burning of Fossil Fuels Produces 75 Percent of Annual CO2 Emissions from Human Activities. “The scientific consensus is in. Our planet is warming, and we are helping make it happen by adding more heat-trapping gases, primarily carbon dioxide (CO2), to the atmosphere. The burning of fossil fuel (oil, coal, and natural gas) alone accounts for about 75 percent of annual CO2 emissions from human activities. Deforestation—the cutting and burning of forests that trap and store carbon—accounts for about another 20 percent.” [Union of Concerned Scientists, 9/30/05]

IPCC Warned Consequences of Global Warming Could Be Far-Reaching and Irreversible. “The UN’s Nobel-winning panel on climate change on Friday completed a draft report that said the consequences of global warming could be far-reaching and irreversible. The report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) encapsulates a massive review of the global-warming issue, with the goal of guiding policymakers for the next five years… Human activities ‘could lead to abrupt or irreversible climate changes and impacts,’ the agreed text said.” [Agence France-Presse, 11/16/07]

  • IPCC Report Warned All Countries Would Be Affected, Producing Drought, Cyclones and Sea Levels That Could Cause Flooding, Hunger and Water Shortages. “Heatwaves, rainstorms, drought, tropical cyclones and surges in sea level are among the events expected to become more frequent, more widespread and/or more intense this century. As a result, water shortages, hunger, flooding and damage to homes will be a heightened threat. ‘All countries’ will be affected, says the IPCC. Those bearing the brunt, though, will be poor countries which incidentally bear the least responsibility for creating the problem.” [Agence France-Presse, 11/16/07]

Military Experts Warn Projected Climate Change Poses a Serious Threat To America’s National Security. “Projected climate change poses a serious threat to America’s national security. The predicted effects of climate change over the coming decades include extreme weather events, drought, flooding, sea level rise, retreating glaciers, habitat shifts, and the increased spread of life-threatening diseases. These conditions have the potential to disrupt our way of life and to force changes in the way we keep ourselves safe and secure.” [Military Advisory Board, “National Security and the Threat of Climate Change,” 4/07]

Military Experts Predict Climate Change Will Act as Multiplier for Instability in Most Volatile Regions of the World. “Climate change acts as a threat multiplier for instability in some of the most volatile regions of the world. Projected climate change will seriously exacerbate already marginal living standards in many Asian, African, and Middle Eastern nations, causing widespread political instability and the likelihood of failed states… Economic and environmental conditions in already fragile areas will further erode as food production declines, diseases increase, clean water becomes increasingly scarce, and large populations move in search of resources.” [Military Advisory Board, “National Security and the Threat of Climate Change,” 4/07]

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