Sessions: Energy technology policy can help Alabama

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 6, 2007

U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions will serve on the energy committee this year – a position he said can benefit Alabama since the state has the potential to become a leader in biofuels technology.

Sessions likened the wood energy process – which uses microbes to break down the timber and make ethanol – to the same process that makes moonshine.

&#8220Right now it's pretty expensive,” he said.

Other new developments for the energy industry include a bill to allow offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico – which could produce $5 million in the first year for Alabama, Sessions said.

The November election – which gave control of the House and Senate to Democrats – was a message that Americans were not happy with Congress, Sessions said.

&#8220The overall message was too much stalemate,” he said.

Sessions said he wished President Bush had decided to make a change at the Pentagon before the election. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld did not announce his resignation until days after the election.

&#8220The American people didn't like – and I didn't either – the idea of just going along with business as usual,” Sessions said. &#8220It's a grave situation, just as the (Iraq) commission report said, but it's not hopeless.”

Sessions said he is looking forward to the changes that could come in the new year for the military in Iraq. Bush is expected to announce a new direction for Iraq policy soon.

&#8220Success in Iraq depends upon the Iraqis,” Sessions said. &#8220Are they willing to step up and meet this challenge. Failure in Iraq, colossal disaster in Iraq, will not only hurt us it will encourage terrorists, encourage instability in the region.”

Other issues that will face Congress this year include continued immigration reform, Sessions said. His proposal to build a fence along the border passed last year, although money for the project was not included in the bill.

Sessions said he also hopes to encourage Congress to pass legislation that would allow every American to have a savings and retirement account to which all employers would make contributions.