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Kingston addresses energy crises
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In June, U.S. Representative Jack Kingston, R-Savannah, returned from a trip to the OPEC states. He had previously visited both Iraq and Afghanistan to assess progress in the war zone, but this time Kingston wanted to focus his attention on rising oil prices.
Across the Middle East, Kingston found himself and his country denounced for looking abroad for fuel when there are oil reserves in the United States, which he thought to be a valid criticism.
"What keeps us from digging here are not technical barriers, but political barriers," Kingston said. "The money that we pay for gas doesn't have to go to Saudi Arabia or Venezuela; it could go to someone in America."
Despite his desire to look into drilling for American oil, Kingston thinks conservation is key.
"Energy is kind of like dieting. Americans spend millions of dollars a year on diet books, but it all boils down to eating less and exercising more. Energy boils down to conservation and researching alternatives."


Kingston is working to promote conservation and has proposed a bill to give tax credits to people who buy hybrid cars, which typically are thousands of dollars more expensive than standard vehicles. Kingston also thinks cutting down on door-to-door mail delivery is a simple and critical way to conserve energy.
"Do you really need Saturday mail delivery? Businesses certainly don't read it. And you can send almost everything over e-mail. You could even cut door-to-door mail delivery down to Monday and Wednesday."
Also on Kingston's conservation agenda are the removal of drive-through windows at banks and fast food restaurants.
"They're gas guzzlers. That's five minutes of gas that you didn't have to spend. Multiply that by 300,000,000 people, and you've got a lot of wasted gas."


Kingston's conscientiousness extends beyond his desire to protect resources. "Everything is changing," he said. "It makes sense to look at alternatives. We should be looking at nuclear power, we should be looking at smart coal." Kingston is working to encourage research and entrepreneurialism, and he's tapping local resources to do it. Researchers in both Tifton and in Folkston are developing cutting-edge methods to create and utilize energy sources.  
More broadly, Kingston is interested in the possibilities of nuclear energy.
"Dubai doesn't have the oil that Abu Dhabi has, so they're looking at nuclear energy. In France, four out of every five households are nuclear powered. But in America, only one in every four household gets their power from a nuclear plant. We can't rest on our laurels when it comes to energy," Kingston said.
Kingston, who is in his eighth term as a congressman, serves on the House Appropriations Committee, which decides how the federal budget is spent, and on the Defense Subcommittee. Of the opportunities his position affords him, Kingston said, "There are all kinds of things I get to learn every day."

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