Letters to the Editor

Letter: Does Bush mean all energy subsidies?

When Jeb Bush visited the Hilton Head Marriott on Jan. 9, he was bombarded with a variety of questions. I inquired about his stance on what role renewable energy should play in the economy.

Jeb said he would let the markets figure it out, which means his energy policy would use the most cost-competitive options. Keeping with his free-market approach, he would provide no subsidies for energy companies, including the oil industry.

"So," he said, "if renewable energy becomes competitive, and I think it will, then it will become a major part of the U.S. energy strategy."

Jeb's approach would be an improvement over the past several decades, during which time the U.S. has subsidized oil companies while failing to include renewables in a serious way.

However, I wonder if he truly means all subsidies. The production and use of oil harms the environment and human health, but producers and users pay no penalty for that harm. Is this lack of penalty considered a subsidy?

Greenhouse gas producers should pay for the hidden cost of their product. This payment could be in the form of a tax. Once this tax is in place, it would push innovation in many industries that rely on petroleum-based products and give clean energy companies a level playing field. With a tax on pollution, the cleanest and most efficient energy sources would be used.

Does Jeb Bush really support the removal of all energy subsidies?

Owen Winzeler