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As Oil Prices Jump Amidst Middle East Turmoil, Forbes Offers New Manhattan Project for Energy Independence

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Washington,D.C., Mar 1, 2011 | Joe Hack ((202) 225-6365) | comments

As oil prices continue to skyrocket and events unpredictably develop in the Middle East, Congressman J. Randy Forbes (VA-04) announced today that he has reintroduced the New Manhattan Project for Energy Independence as a solution to the United States’ pressing need to become energy independent.  The New Manhattan Project, H.R. 301, seeks to harness the best in American creativity and ingenuity by creating a competitive environment for scientists and researchers to achieve 100% energy independence within twenty years, ending our reliance on foreign sources of oil.

“The United States can no longer afford to allow political and economic unrest in other nations to dictate fuel costs for Americans who are already feeling economic pain. While we sit back and allow our gas prices to climb, nations like China are racing ahead in their efforts to achieve energy independence by seizing on technological innovations and making marked progress in relatively unknown areas like nuclear fusion. It is time that we make achieving energy independence a top priority for the United States. The New Manhattan Project can help get us there,” said Forbes.

On Thursday, February 24, 2011, oil prices peaked to a two-and-a-half year high of $120 a barrel due to rumors that Libyan President Moammar Gaddafi had been assassinated.  Libya is the world’s twelfth largest oil producer and continued strife within the country and the broader Middle East has impacted the entire petroleum export industry.

In the meantime, the Chinese Academy of Science announced in December 2009 that it has begun a new round of controlled nuclear fusion experiments.  Their success has already exceeded the progress of both European Union scientists and American nuclear experts, who recently reengaged in fusion research in October 2010.   Nuclear fusion remains relatively unexplored in the United State and is just one of many promising sources of energy that can move the United States toward energy independence.

The New Manhattan Project challenges the United States to reach 50% energy independence in ten years and 100% energy independence in 20 years and brings together scientists and researchers in the U.S. in a competitive format to reach one of seven energy goals:

- Double CAFE standards to 70 MPG while keeping vehicles affordable
- Cut home and business energy usage in half
- Make solar power work at the same cost as coal
- Make the production of biofuels cost-competitive with gasoline
- Safely and cheaply store carbon emissions from coal-powered plants
- Safely store or neutralize nuclear waste
- Produce usable electricity from a nuclear fusion reaction

The bill was first introduced by Congressman Forbes in 2008 as H.R. 6260 and was hailed by the Wall Street Journal, CNN, and Fox News radio as one of the most innovative energy solutions before Congress.  The New Manhattan Project was recently referred to the House Committee on Energy and Environment.

For more information on Congressman Forbes’ work toward energy independence, click here.

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