Senator Norm Coleman often runs afoul of conservatives as a moderate Minnesotan, but today he’s proving why he makes such an intelligent ally. Coleman plans to introduce legislation to expand oil and nuclear energy production in the US. In a message sent out to Minnesota bloggers this morning, his campaign elaborates on Coleman’s plan:

Yesterday Senator Coleman delivered a speech on the floor of the Senate where he outlined his new, comprehensive energy bill that aims to bring energy prices down. Notably, this legislation includes increased domestic drilling, more nuclear energy, clean coal technology and an increased use of renewable fuels.

I know that several of you are interested in both increasing domestic oil production and investing in more nuclear energy, so below you will find information on how Senator Coleman’s legislation would help in these areas.

Increased Domestic Drilling

With an estimated 2.8 million barrels of oil and 12 trillion cubic feet of natural gas sitting under the Outer Continental Shelf, Senator Coleman feels it is essential that we tap this unused resource. As a way to lower oil prices. Unlike Democrats like Al Franken, Senator Coleman knows that with an ever-increasing demand for oil, the only way to see a decrease in the price-per-barrel is to increase the supply. This has the potential to offset foreign oil imports by as much as $145 billion dollars. This bill would give governors of affected coastal states a say in the matter and would allow them to negotiate deals that are in the best interests of their citizens.

Investing In More Nuclear Energy

As Senator Coleman is fond of saying, “the French are not braver than we are” when it comes to investing in nuclear. Senator Coleman’s legislation would implement a tax credit and loan guarantee system for nuclear production as well as training for an expanded nuclear workforce. And, he has been a strong advocate for lifting Minnesota’s moratorium on expanding nuclear power.

If passed, this legislation would go a long to help bring energy prices down and go a long way in securing our energy independence.

We will, of course, need to see the details. Of special interest is how willing Coleman will be to opening up federal lands for exploration and drilling. He has opposed ANWR drilling in the past, and he probably will continue to do so, but if we can get enough production from continental resources, ANWR could wait for another debate later down the road.

Coleman has apparently understood the opportunity that this energy crisis has provided to both parties to finally establish a rational plan to secure the energy necessary for our standard of living. Using nuclear, coal, and oil resources within our own borders, we can alleviate the supply problems we currently face within a few years — and action along these lines might prompt current production to rise in an attempt to dissuade us from becoming more independent, resulting in price declines in the near term. Using our own resources will put less money in the pockets of those who fund terrorism against American and Western interests and therefore make the nation more secure.

Norm Coleman may not be as conservative as some would like, but he is a pragmatist. If he delivers on this effort, he will have shown his worth to the GOP once again. Hopefully, he can convince members of both parties to participate in a sensible and long-overdue approach to energy policy — and maybe get John McCain to explicitly back this effort.