Fuel Independent Candidate
Jockeying for name recognition and post position, the candidates for the 2004 Democratic primary are busily trying to stake out the issues that will define them as the election unfolds — and Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman has settled on energy independence. In his first major policy speech, given yesterday to environmentalists, Lieberman declared a goal of reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil by nearly two-thirds within the decade and eliminating it entirely within 20 years. To reach that goal, he proposed new fuel-economy standards; incentives to auto manufacturers to produce more efficient vehicles; smarter use of national resources, including cleaner coal; requirements that utilities purchase 20 percent of their energy from renewable resources by 2020; and tax credits for consumers and businesses for buying fuel-efficient vehicles. With the speech, Lieberman joined fellow Democratic candidates Sen. John Kerry (Mass.) and Rep. Richard Gephardt (Mo.) in taking a stand on renewable resources and conservation to wean the country off of foreign oil.