Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Maryland) gave a series of speeches about peak oil on the floor of the House of Representatives. Mike Millikin of Green Car Congress — who is, ahem, this week’s Grist InterActivist — discussed them here and here. Now (via Jeff), Global Public Media has an interview with Bartlett. It’s absolutely fascinating — the guy has obviously thought about and studied the issue extensively. It’s rare to hear frank talk like this from a public official:

If we’re going to get through this crisis period without an awful lot of pain, we’re going to have to have the equivalent of a Manhattan-like Project. We’re going to have to challenge, not just the American people, but the people of the world because the first thing we have to do is to have an enormously conservation effort so that we buy time. … Not only do we need to meet the demands of our economies, we need to have a surplus of energy to invest in the renewables, an investment we have got to make. If we just let the clock run down we are going to face a very uncertain future with very traumatic dislocations. We should’ve started 25 years ago … Putting it off is going to make it just more and more painful and more expensive.

Yup. Anyway, read the whole thing.

(If this were a Daily Grist story, I would title it "Roscoe Peak Oil Train." Lucky for you it’s not.)

Update [2005-5-3 14:21:42 by Dave Roberts]: OMG, and I just noticed this bit. When he’s asked what his colleagues’ reaction has been to his speeches, he says:

They’d like to know more about it. It’s not something that they even thought about before. Most people have assumed, I have no idea why you would assume that, that oil is forever.

“Most people,” perhaps, but the leaders of our country? Truly we are in good hands, no?