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True American Patriots and Heroes Go to Bat for Alternative Fuels - EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

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United States Energy Security Council fields heavy hitters to say it's time to end our reliance on oil

   • SEE ALSO: The Auto Channel Fights for the Truth about Ethanol Versus Gasoline

AUTO CENTRAL – September 24, 2011: This past Wednesday evening a new group called the “United States Energy Security Council” took the stage at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. for a two-hour conference to introduce some of its key players and objectives.

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(l-r) Gary Hart, James Woolsey, Mary Peters, Alan Greenspan, and Robert McFarlane

What makes the formation of this group so significant is that the Council is not composed of unknown wild-eyed tree-huggers, but by a corps of upper echelon politicians, businessmen, and scientists who have been at or near the highest levels of the public and private sectors. Their message was loud and clear: Alternative fuels work; they are less expensive than gasoline and diesel; they are safe and easy to use; and they can all be made domestically by American workers.

The fuels they have zeroed-in on are ethanol, methanol, and compressed natural gas (CNG) – although they are in favor of any solution that reduces or eliminates our dependence on oil. They suggest government mandates requiring, at the least, that all internal combustion vehicles be capable of using more than just conventional gasoline or diesel: gasoline/ethanol, gasoline/methanol, gasoline/CNG, etc. They want action on this goal now, and prior to the evening’s event several of the group’s members visited the Capital Building in an effort to explain and gain support for the USESC program.

One comment, made by former Louisiana Senator Bennett Johnston, concerning the use of methanol was a veritable home run. He said, “…Back in the 80's, the Department of Energy said 'methanol is cheap…let’s do a demonstration.' They went to California, they got 15,000 cars, it worked great, the people loved it…”

Robert McFarlane, former National Security Advisor, also slugged a round-tripper when he paraphrased an earlier quote made some years ago by Senator Gary Hart: "We do have an energy policy. We rely on a single fuel, we buy it from a cartel controlled by people who don't like us very much, and every five years we go to war to maintain that privilege."

Most importantly, perhaps, was that the Council speakers didn’t waste much time addressing the lies and erroneous rumors that have been circulated for years by oil lobbyists about the efficiency and safety of the alt fuels discussed; they focused on the national need to end our dependence on oil, which as they clearly acknowledged is controlled by foreign governments and regimes, many of whom hate us.

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Veteran newsman Frank Sesno was the conference moderator

To be sure, I didn’t agree with everything that all of the participants said; for example I disagreed with Alan Greenspan’s comment that “CNG has some problems” and that he supports domestic shale oil drilling (he didn’t elaborate on what he thought was problematical about CNG so I can’t respond more except to say that as an owner/driver of a CNG-powered vehicle there is nothing wrong with it as a fuel – it’s much cheaper than gasoline and just as efficient). My only problem with CNG versus ethanol is that the CNG industry and manufacturing process is controlled by the same people who control oil and gasoline (including domestic CNG). So there’s little reason to think that if CNG became the major solution that we wouldn’t find ourselves being manipulated once again by the same people who are pulling our strings now. To me, the best thing about ethanol is that literally anyone can make it and that it can be produced from a wide variety of abundant raw materials.

Former CIA Director Jim Woolsey, an ardent and enthusiastic proponent of alternative fuels, made what we believe is an error in calculating the cost efficiency of ethanol versus gasoline, but this miscalculation still illustrated how ethanol is far less expensive than gasoline, so no harm was done.

And as I opined in my preview story about the conference, I was skeptical about John Hofmeister's participation in the group (John is a former president of Shell Oil America). I see him as a shill for the gasoline companies, regardless of his current endeavors. His veiled pro-oil comments were what I expected.

However, even with these minor disagreements I’d give the conference an “A” on content, style, and execution. This was as close to a perfect pitch for alternative fuels as I’ve seen, and I’ve been to a lot of alternative fuel events over the past few years and spoken with a lot of great alt fuel champions. As our regular viewers/readers know, my business partner, Bob Gordon, and I have written and lectured extensively on the affirmative benefits of alternative fuels and energy. We see the adoption of a strong domestic policy as the only obvious way to turn our economy around. We have engaged in some serious battles to defend and promote alt fuels against very well funded, better known adversaries. The USESC’s group of responsible adults pretty much confirmed our position (and we them). Frankly, it was a welcome relief to hear what they have to say.

Proudly, The Auto Channel was able to videotape the entire presentation and to make it available for you to experience. I believe that we were the only automotive media outlet covering the event, and we may have been the only media outlet in general. I didn’t see any other journalists of note and there was no one else, other than the Council’s organizers, recording the event.

We have taken the complete 100+ minutes and broken it down into four HD video segments. They can be accessed on-demand by clicking on the windows below.

The council members include the following people. Asterisks denote those who participated in the inaugural on-stage conference:

   Robert C. McFarlane* - Former National Security Advisor
   George P. Shultz* - Former Secretary of State; Former Secretary of Treasury
   R. James Woolsey* - Former Director of Central Intelligence; Chairman of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies
   Norman Augustine* - Former Chairman, Lockheed-Martin; Former Under Secretary of the Army
   William L. Ball - Former Secretary of the Navy
   Mary Peters* - Former Secretary of Transportation
   Geoffrey Bible - Retired Chairman & CEO Altria Group, Inc.; Retired Chairman, Kraft Foods Inc.
   John Block - Former Secretary of Agriculture
   Harold Brown - Former Secretary of Defense
   William P. Clark - Former Secretary of the Interior; Former National Security Advisor
   C. Boyden Gray - Former White House Counsel; Former Ambassador to the EU
   Alan Greenspan* - Former Chairman of the Federal Reserve
   Stephen Hadley - Former National Security Advisor
   Gary Hart* - Former Senator from Colorado
   John Hofmeister* - Former President, Shell Oil North America
   J. Bennett Johnston* - Former Senator from Louisiana and Chairman of the Senate Energy Committee
   John Lehman - Former Secretary of the Navy
   Mike Leven - President, Las Vegas Sands
   Vice Admiral Dennis V. McGinn* - President, American Council on Renewable Energy
   Professor George Olah - Nobel Laureate in Chemistry
   William Perry - Former Secretary of Defense
   James G. Roche* - Former Secretary of the US Air Force

The Council was organized by Anne Korin, Gal Luft and others from their Institute for the Analysis of Global Security (IAGS). Among other noteworthy achievements, Anne and Gal co-authored “Turning Oil into Salt: Energy Independence through Fuel Choice” and “Energy Security Challenges for the 21st Century.”

Last summer Anne delivered the opening keynote speech at the annual American Coalition for Ethanol conference. You can watch the entire speech by CLICKING HERE.

Watch Part 1 of the USESC Conference

Watch Part 2 of the USESC Conference

Watch Part 3 of the USESC Conference

Watch Part 4 of the USESC Conference