Former senator measures cost of foreign oil | AspenTimes.com

Former senator measures cost of foreign oil

Janet Urquhart

Former Sen. Gary Hart will speak on energy independence and national security Saturday in Aspen. (Contributed photo)

The price of gas can’t be measured solely in dollars and cents, according to former U.S. Sen. Gary Hart. It’s costing lives.The onetime Democratic senator from Colorado, who’s teaching a graduate seminar in “Security, Resources and the Republic” at the University of Colorado these days, will bring a familiar message to Aspen on Saturday – one that links U.S. dependence on foreign oil to its national security.”We have to become independent of Persian Gulf oil as soon as possible,” Hart said Thursday from the university’s Denver campus. First elected to Congress in 1974, during the first “oil crisis,” Hart concedes his viewpoint is hardly new, though it remains every bit as relevant as it was when Americans lined up at the pumps during his first Congressional term. The country has done little to wean itself off foreign oil in the three decades since, he noted.Hart’s Aspen address – “Energy Independence and National Security through Renewable Energy” – coincides with third annual Aspen Renewable Energy Day (see related story), but Hart said his focus won’t be energy policy. He was, however, quick to chide the Bush administration’s Arctic-drilling approach to oil independence.”I think, mostly, I want to get into people’s minds that our dependence on foreign oil will lead us into more wars,” Hart said, declining to delve into the specifics of the remarks he plans to deliver. “The point is to wake people up to the cost of foreign oil in lives.”If I walk away and someone says, ‘Gee whiz, I hadn’t thought about that before,’ I’ve done my job,” he said.Hart, a presidential hopeful in 1984 and 1988, served on the bipartisan National Commission on Terrorism, also known as the Hart-Rudman Commission, on behalf of President Bill Clinton in 1998, and continues to speak on homeland security.He will speak at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Paepcke Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.Janet Urquhart’s e-mail is janet@aspentimes.com

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