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655 Washington St.
Ashland, OR 97520
(541) 201-0090




Jamey Hecht

© Copyright 2005, From The Wilderness Publications, All Rights Reserved. This story may NOT be posted on any Internet web site without express written permission. Contact May be circulated, distributed or transmitted for non-profit purposes only.

November 23, 2005 1300 PST (FTW): The House of Representatives now has a Peak Oil caucus. That means there is a conscious minority within that body who have recognized the crisis. Some of them probably understand it better than others, and perceive that no combination of alternative energy sources will ever allow what Dick Cheney calls “the American way of life” to continue. But they will educate each other and, we can hope, the rest of the House.

The Caucus was founded by Roscoe Bartlett, whose leadership on the Peak Oil issue is unparalleled across the entire government today.

Representative Bartlett is in command of the most daunting reaches of the problem. He knows that “There is no such thing, ultimately, as sustainable growth.” Hear his presentation at the Denver ASPO-USA Conference here: (for the frank admission about “sustainable growth,” go to 18:56). He knows that “our whole monetary system is based on the premise that we will always have growth.” And he knows that those two insights add up to a new world of sacrifice and transformation.

But isn’t this politically toxic? Not anymore, it seems. Some or all of the Caucus members surely regard oil and gas depletion as so important, its consequences so epochal, that re-election pales by comparison. But perhaps they have also judged that the crisis will be so serious so soon that an early, visible acceptance of the facts will increase an incumbent’s chances for further electoral victories. All the caucus members are to be congratulated and supported, though their task is just beginning. FTW wishes to thank these members, and to invite the public to hold them to their initial commitment:


Congressman James McGovern
34 Mechanic Street
Worcester, MA 01608
Phone: (508) 831-7356
Fax: (508) 754-0982

430 Cannon Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-6101
Fax: (202) 225-5759

Congressman Vern Ehlers
Washington Office
1714 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515-2203
voice: (202) 225-3831
fax: (202) 225-5144

Grand Rapids Office
Gerald R. Ford Federal Building
110 Michigan Street
Grand Rapids, MI 49503-2313
voice: (616) 451-8383
fax: (616) 454-5630

Congressman Tom Udall
1414 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-6190
Fax 202-226-1331

811 St. Michaels Drive, Suite 104
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87505
Phone 505-984-8950

Congressman Mark Udall
Washington D.C. Office
240 Cannon House
Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Phone: (202) 225-2161
Fax: (202) 226-7840

Westminster Office
8601 Turnpike Drive #206
Westminster, CO 80031
Phone: (303) 650-7820
Fax: (303) 650-7827

West Slope Office
291 Main St.
P.O. Box 325
Minturn, CO 81645
Phone: (970) 827-4154
Fax: (970) 827-4138

Congressman Raul Grijalva
DC Office:
1440 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
ph (202)225-2435
fax (202)225-1541

Tucson District Office:
810 E. 22nd St., Suite 102
Tucson, AZ 85713
ph (520)622-6788
fax (520)622-0198

Yuma District Office:
1455 S. 4th Avenue, Suite 4
Yuma, AZ 85364
ph (928)343-7933
fax (928)343-7949

Congressman Wayne Gilchrest
Washington, DC Office
2245 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Ph.202-225-5311 Fx.202-225-0254

District Office Serving Baltimore, Harford and Cecil Counties
112 West Pennsylvania Avenue, #102
Bel Air, MD 21014
Ph.410-838-2517 or toll free: 888-393-3915 Fx.410-838-7823

District Office Serving Kent, Queen Anne's, Caroline, Talbot and Anne Arundel Counties
315 High Street, Suite 105
Chestertown, MD 21620
Ph.410-778-9407 / 410-758-4059 or toll free: 877-891-9719 Fx.410-778-9560

District Office Serving Dorchester, Wicomico, Worcester and Somerset Counties
One Plaza East
Salisbury, MD 21801
Ph.410-749-3184 / 410-376-3052 Fx.410-749-8458

Congressman Jim Moran
5115 Franconia Road
Suite B
Alexandria, VA 22310
Phone: (703) 971-4700
Fax: (703) 922-9436

1760 Reston Parkway
Suite 504
Reston, VA 20190
Phone: (703) 481-4339
Fax: (703) 481-4338 2239 Rayburn Building

Washington, DC 20515-4608
Phone: (202) 225-4376
Fax: (202) 225-0017

Congressman Dennis Moore
Washington, DC
1727 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-2865
Fax: (202) 225-2807

Overland Park, KS
8417 Santa Fe Drive #101
Overland Park, KS 66212
Phone: (913) 383-2013
Fax: (913) 383-2088

Kansas City, KS
500 State Avenue #176
Kansas City, KS 66101
Phone: (913) 621-0832
Fax: (913) 621-1533

Lawrence, KS
901 Kentucky St., #205
Lawrence, KS 66044
Phone: (785) 842-9313
Fax: (785) 843-3289

At the same moment, there has appeared a “sense of the House” resolution on Peak Oil. Though it has no immediate legislative consequences, it’s a landmark document.

Henceforth it will be much harder to pretend that fossil fuel scarcity is merely the result of market forces, Islamic extremism, corporate price gouging, international hoarding, technological limitations, or regulatory red tape. Those factors affect pricing, but geology trumps them all. Of course the beast in the Oval Office and his allies in the Congress will keep on pretending, just as the Soviets kept up the fantasy that “dialectics” would guarantee an eventual triumph of world communism, or as the Chinese during the “Boxer Rebellion” convinced themselves that martial arts could outface the machine gun. The distractions and deceptions will continue, but now there is a critical mass of thinking persons inside the government who can speak the truth about the energy crisis. Not a lone visionary, vulnerable to dirty tricks or a convenient plane crash – this is a group of eight legislators of both parties from Massachusetts to New Mexico. The game has changed.

Here is House Resolution 507:

Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the United States, in collaboration with other international allies, should establish an energy project with the magnitude, creativity, and sense of urgency that was incorporated in the ‘Man on the Moon’ project to address the inevitable challenges of ‘Peak Oil’.

As Roscoe Bartlett made clear in his ASPO-USA presentation, the real analogy is not to Apollo 11, but Apollo 13. In a two-part story here at FTW, Tom Wayburn has demonstrated that “An Apollo Project For Energy Can Succeed, But Not In A Market Economy.” (See parts 1 and 2). The existing corporate “Apollo Alliance” pushes for a boom in renewables that will power urban sprawl and the car culture using non-fossil fuels. That is a road to nowhere; it is thermodynamically impossible and it would do little to avert the ecological collapse of which climate change is only the most dramatic sign. The pursuit of endless economic growth, no matter what its physical basis, leads to a dead lunar landscape. The Apollo 13 mission, by contrast, was (to borrow a phrase from Megan Quinn) an effort to get home from such a voyage, in a damaged ship with a perilously narrow mathematical window of opportunity for safe re-entry. That window is powerdown.

The wording of House Resolution 507 is bold and robust compared to the environmental lip service of the neoliberals; it is sober and insightful compared to the insanity and greed of the neoconservatives. But it is also shrewd and diplomatic and ambiguous: the reader can’t tell whether H.R. 507 advocates a utopian leap beyond the limits (Apollo 11) or an urgent round of problem solving for sheer survival (Apollo 13). In the ancient world Apollo was, after all, the god of both healing and plague. That name keeps coming up because of President Kennedy’s spiritual summons to a new era of human striving. But for most Americans, the moon landing was a glorious spectacle on a t.v. screen. Powerdown, by contrast, is about shared sacrifice for collective hope. This time, we’re all in the busted spaceship, and the journey home requires the utmost cooperation, cool headed resolve, and abundant good luck. “ Houston, we have a problem.”


October 24, 2005

Mr. BARTLETT of Maryland (for himself, Mr. UDALL of New Mexico, Mr. GOODE, Mr. GRIJALVA, Mr. JONES of North Carolina, Mr. TANCREDO, Mr. GINGREY, Mr. KUHL of New York, Mr. ISRAEL, Mr. BUTTERFIELD, Mr. UDALL of Colorado, Mr. VAN HOLLEN, Mr. GILCHREST, and Mr. WYNN) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce.


Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the United States, in collaboration with other international allies, should establish an energy project with the magnitude, creativity, and sense of urgency that was incorporated in the `Man on the Moon’ project to address the inevitable challenges of `Peak Oil’.

Whereas the United States has only 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves;

Whereas the United States produces 8 percent of the world’s oil and consumes 25 percent of the world’s oil, of which nearly 60 percent is imported from foreign countries;

Whereas developing countries around the world are increasing their demand for oil consumption at rapid rates; for example, the average consumption increase, by percentage, from 2003 to 2004 for the countries of Belarus, Kuwait, China, and Singapore was 15.9 percent;

Whereas the United States consumed more than 937,000,000 tonnes of oil in 2004, and that figure could rise in 2005 given previous projection trends;

Whereas, as fossil energy resources become depleted, new, highly efficient technologies will be required in order to sustainably tap replenishable resources;

Whereas the Shell Oil scientist M. King Hubbert accurately predicted that United States domestic production would peak in 1970, and a growing number of petroleum experts believe that the peak in the world’s oil production (Peak Oil) is likely to occur in the next decade while demand continues to rise;

Whereas North American natural gas production has also peaked;

Whereas the United States is now the world’s largest importer of both petroleum and natural gas;

Whereas the population of the United States is increasing by nearly 30,000,000 persons every decade;

Whereas the energy density in one barrel of oil is the equivalent of eight people working full time for one year;

Whereas affordable supplies of petroleum and natural gas are critical to national security and energy prosperity; and

Whereas the United States has approximately 250 years of coal at current consumption rates, but if that consumption rate is increased by 2 percent per year, coal reserves are reduced to 75 years: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that--
(1) in order to keep energy costs affordable, curb our environmental impact, and safeguard economic prosperity, including our trade deficit, the United States must move rapidly to increase the productivity with which it uses fossil fuel, and to accelerate the transition to renewable fuels and a sustainable, clean energy economy; and

(2) the United States, in collaboration with other international allies, should establish an energy project with the magnitude, creativity, and sense of urgency of the `Man on the Moon’ project to develop a comprehensive plan to address the challenges presented by Peak Oil.


Tom Udall
Virgil Goode
Raul Grijalva
Walter Jones
Tom Tancredo
Phil Gingrey
Randy Kuhl
Steve Israel
G.K. Butterfield
Mark Udall
Chris Van Hollen
Wayne Gilchrest
Al Wynn
John McHugh
Jim Moran
Dennis Moore

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