Guest Column (10/8/09)

Oil must go the way of salt

Oct. 8, 2009

By Larry Matlack

History teaches us that salt and the control of it was a major source of power over people and nations because it was the only way to preserve food and thus life. With the invention of refrigeration that power to control went away. 

When renewable energy in its great number of forms is available locally to almost all people and nations, becoming the energy standard, then the power of oil to control people and nations will have gone the way of salt. It will still be here and still be used in some applications, but with no control.

In a recent piece concerning energy legislation pending in the U.S. Senate written by Lou Schwartz, the lawyer who specializes in Chinese energy sectors states, “The United States Senate possesses the key to address the most critical national security issue that the country presently faces. Will the Senate act decisively and without delay to protect our vital national interests or will it dither as Iran builds a nuclear bomb and further destabilizes the world?” 

The American Agriculture Movement has been a leader in advocating domestic, renewable energy development since our founding more than three decades ago. Towards that goal, AAM is a very strong advocate of accelerating the advancement of biomass energy for industrial heat and power as well as cellulosic ethanol made from non-food crops. AAM continues our vehement support for corn-based ethanol as a key component of an overall renewable energy plan, but also realizes that it is not the singular answer to obtaining energy independence. We must move forward with alternative feedstocks for ethanol production and other forms of renewable energy as soon as possible.

A key component of our new national energy policy should therefore include provisions such as the Renewable Energy Alternative Production Act, also known as the “REAP Act,” introduced by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore. The Act, S.1094, will provide a Production Tax Credit for non-electric renewable energy production for the same 10-year time period as does the current Production Tax Credit for wind and other renewable electricity generation. 

America’s farmers have always risen to the challenges of our nation, from Lexington to Baghdad, and AAM will never retreat from fulfilling our objectives for America’s energy independence. We stand ready, willing and able to lead the way to advance our nation towards that objective. We call for the Senate to act swiftly and deliberately to provide advanced renewable energy policies so that we can relegate the roll of oil to that of salt in our everyday lives — a necessity, but one that lacks the power to control people and nations.


Larry Matlack is president of the
 American Agriculture Movement.