|would be able to hold our transportation system and our economy hostage the way a single nation can disrupt the flow
of petroleum today," Smith said. |
While he did not name any specific geopolitical threats, Smith said the U.S. cannot
continue to put the economy at risk every time a pipeline is attacked by insurgents or a hurricane threatens the Gulf of Mexico.
He warned that the days of oil reaching $147 a barrel, which it did in July, and $5 a gallon for gasoline will not
be the "last oil shock we will ever see."
But prices have fallen dramatically since the summer. Oil prices
tumbled below $39 a barrel Monday as traders shrugged off reports that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries had
slashed production, while the average price at the pump was about $1.91 per gallon, according to auto club AAA, Wright Express
and the Oil Price Information Service.
Still, the best "we can do is insulate ourselves from the effects of future
shocks," Smith said. The long-term strategy would save 1.8 million jobs and act as a $400 billion insurance policy for
the U.S. by reducing depending on foreign energy sources, he added.
Smith acknowledged that the proposed electricity-based
plan is "controversial" and faces several long-term challenges, including changing the tax code to allow companies
to expense capital equipment and increasing oversight of how research and development funding is spent.
plan signed into law by President Barack Obama last week includes $38 billion for energy projects.