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Rep. Bartlett's 2005 energy conference - news coverage

The Oil Drum has reports and commentary on the conference: has a thread on the conference:

Partial transcript on

Full trranscript also posted at

Paula Hay wrote a report on the blog "Adaptation":

Rep. Bartlett's website:

CSPAN broadcast the proceedings of the conference at least twice last night. Bartlett will probably be on a CSPAN call-in show Sept 28; check schedule.

CSPAN entry for the broadcast

Short tv news item on the conference: Congressman Roscoe Bartlett Tackles Nation’s Energy Crisis (NBC 25)

Article in the local newspaper, the Frederick News Post: Experts discuss energy
Publish Date: 09/27/05 By Ed Waters, Jr. News-Post Staff

FREDERICK --The world is running out of fossil fuel and policies are needed to ensure that alternatives -- from conservation to sustainable sources -- are put in place.

Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-6th, brought together six experts in the field of energy Monday at Frederick Community College, and while they had some disagreements on what will and won't work for energy sources in the future, all agreed on the dire need to admit there is a problem and begin looking for long-term solutions.

"This is an historic occasion," said Kenneth Deffeyes, a geologist, engineer and Harvard professor. "We have a conservative congressman, a radical social thinker and an investment banker all with the same message."

Mr. Deffeyes and other speakers noted that Saudi Arabia, looked at as the main oil source by the United States, "peaked" its oil production in 2003. Mr. Deffeyes said agriculture will be the area most affected by a lack of energy sources because production of fertilizers and other products used in farming requires large amounts of natural gas.

Matthew Simmons, a former energy adviser to President Bush and author of "Twilight in the Desert: a look at the depleting oil supplies in Saudi Arabia," said, "We are in a deep hole and we have to stop digging."

Mr. Simmons called Hurricane Katrina "a wake-up call" on energy vulnerability and said the storm's negative impact will be more on natural gas than on oil.

In a statement echoed by other speakers, Mr. Simmons said goods need to be transported shorter distances and by train or boat, not by truck; people need to use local foods and goods and stop long commutes and unnecessary travel.

Richard Heinberg, who called himself a teacher of "human ecology," noted the transformation of the U.S. from a major energy producer and lender to the world's largest energy importer and largest debtor nation.

He said moves to change the auto industry through technology and hybrids will take up to 25 years to really pay off because of the cost and time needed for U.S. automakers to change their manufacturing systems.

Like other speakers, Mr. Heinberg said the push for conservation needs to be local. "The pain will be felt at the local level and should be managed at the local level by city and county managers," he said concerning the increased use of local foods and conservation of heating fuel and gasoline.

Donald Wulfinghoff, president of Wulfinghoff Energy Services and an author of energy-related books, criticized what he called "distractions" from real solutions to the energy problem.

He said mass transportation was simply a "social" move and not one that necessarily saves energy. Hybrid cars cost more to manufacture and use more energy in production than they save, he said, calling them "a political phenomenon."

He called for better-designed homes and commercial buildings with more insulation and less glass, calling the "glass box" design "the worst design in history." He called for tough, energy-- minded building codes that would have to be met not only by builders, but by architects as well.

John Howe, president of Howe Engineering and author of a book on the end of fossil fuel, compared the oil crisis with a terminal illness: people at first deny it and then try to research it and find a solution. "But the more you get into this, the more ominous you see it."

He said the idea that hydrogen energy will solve all problems overlooks the fact that it takes a tremendous amount of natural gas to create hydrogen. He called the hydrogen fuel cell idea for cars "fool cells." He also said more efficiency can sometimes inadvertently create more use as people think they have saved a lot and can use more energy elsewhere.

The Associated Press had a story on the conference: Bartlett hosts forum on energy alternatives

FREDERICK, Md. (AP) - Mindful that the world is running out of fossil fuel and policies need to be in place to ensure that alternatives are available, U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., brought together experts in the field of energy to discuss the issue on Monday.

One participant called Hurricane Katrina "a wake-up call" on energy vulnerability and said the negative effects on natural gas will be more than on oil from that storm.

"This is an historic occasion," said Kenneth Deffeyes, a geologist, engineer and Harvard professor, of the meeting at Frederick Community College. "We have a conservative congressman, a radical social thinker and an investment banker all with the same message." ....

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