WASHINGTON (AP) - A GOP senator from the nation's leading coal-producing state contends Democrats will increase energy costs and make the U.S. more dependent on foreign oil if they focus solely on alternative energy.
In the party's weekly radio and Internet address Saturday, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., said Republicans support a more comprehensive energy plan that would increase funding for energy research, develop U.S. oil and gas resources and promote clean coal and nuclear power.
"Democrats have focused solely on what they call green jobs. Those are jobs from alternative energy. I support green jobs, but why discriminate?" Barrasso said. "American energy means American jobs, which is why I support red-white-and-blue jobs."
He said renewable energy such as wind and solar power is important, noting that Wyoming has world-class wind resources. But Barrasso said wind and solar only account for about 1 percent of U.S. electricity, far below what is needed to meet the nation's energy needs.
Wyoming is the nation's leader in coal production, and coal mining contributes hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue each year to the state.
Barrasso also said Democrats were misguided by ruling out the use of U.S. oil in places such as the Outer Continental Shelf and Alaska.
"There's enough oil shale in the Rocky Mountain West alone to power America for the next hundred years," he said. "As a nation,we need to be more energy independent. It is a matter of energy security, as well as national security."
"As we approach this Memorial Day, it is my hope that the Democrats can work with us to develop solutions to make our energy supply clean, affordable and reliable," he said.