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Energy Initiative Offers 'Combination' Plan To Meet U.S. Needs

Former LA. Sen. John Breaux (D)
Former LA. Sen. John Breaux (D)

Former U.S. Sen. John Breaux, D-La., now co-chairman of the Energy Initiative, a coalition of 30 energy producing and consuming organizations, told CNBC’s “Street Signs” that a mix of traditional and renewable energy supplies will be needed to meet the nation’s future needs.

“It’s not an either-or situation,” Breaux said. “It’s not either big oil and gas or renewable (energy sources). It’s a combination of both. We (need) both oil and gas and coal as well as renewables to solve our problem. I’m a little concerned that it seems to be all the tax implications are moving toward encouraging only renewables. We can’t solve the problem with just sun and saw grass.”

Senate Democrats have proposed to boost taxes on oil companies by about $14 billion over ten years and use the money as incentives for solar power, wind power, cellulosic ethanol and other renewable energy sources.

“If you add (billions) in increased taxes on oil and gas, who’s going to pay for that?” Breaux said. “Is that going to raise the price of gas at the pump another nickel, dime or 25 cents a gallon?…I think it’s very dangerous for us to look at those kinds of increases at a critical time when we need more exploration.”

Breaux said he gets a “little uncomfortable” when the government “starts picking winners and losers” rather than letting the free market sort things out. He said the U.S. should be looking at offshore oil reserves and untapped fields in Alaska, now placed off limits to drilling by environmental laws.