Bobby Jindal

In the wake of Republicans’ takeover of the House, many pundits are convinced that the federal government will be at a stalemate for the next two years, unable to get anything done. I believe we can—and should—do better. One area where I believe we can make significant strides with common sense solutions is in energy.

As governor of one of America’s largest oil producing states, you could reasonably assume that I’m a proponent of fossil fuels. Guilty as charged—and the 2010 oil spill off the Louisiana coast, awful as it is, hasn’t changed that.

But what may surprise you is that along with being a big supporter of fossil fuels, I’m also a big proponent of developing any and all methods of producing energy that works. I even support pursuing technologies that don’t exist yet. Not all of them will succeed, but we have to consider every option in order to make more America energy independent.

The problem is that many Washington decision makers are either seriously misinformed or willfully ignorant about energy. Republicans seem instinctively to oppose cultivating energy sources favored by the environmental movement, such as solar and wind power. Likewise, Democrats often stridently oppose the expansion of traditional energy sources such as oil, coal, and nuclear power. Here’s an idea: how about we do it all? That’s not a Republican or Democrat solution. That’s an American solution.

One green technology largely ignored by the Left is nuclear power. You heard me right, nuclear energy is in fact a green technology, and it’s one of the best options we have to simultaneously make our country’s economy grow and protect our environment. Nuclear power is safe, reliable, emission free, and can create a steady supply of energy. One reactor can produce on average as much power as thousands of wind turbines at a fraction of the cost.

There is no excuse for us to be lagging behind many other countries in nuclear power. Today we get about 20 percent of our electricity from America’s 104 nuclear power plants. But France gets 79 percent, Sweden 45 percent, South Korea 38 percent, and Belgium 56 percent of their electricity from nuclear reactors.

While conservatives need to embrace the possibilities of green energy, the Left has to also understand that the Alaskan Wildlife Refuge, ANWR, is not a four-letter word. The bottom line is this: scaling back domestic drilling, and preventing drilling in ANWR, won’t cut our use of oil and natural gas. It just means even more of our supply will come from foreign countries.

Bobby Jindal

Bobby Jindal is governor of Louisiana and author of the newly released book Leadership and Crisis (Regnery, 2010).