Once again, Congress is in the midst of debating energy legislation. Unfortunately, the conversation is taking the same old wrong turns, even in the face of looming concerns for homeowners anticipating cold winters.
Many Americans had to put their travel vacations on hold this summer because of high gas prices. But disappointing "stay-cations" will pale in comparison to the astronomical home heating bills coming our way. Even with the temporary dip in oil prices, we are looking at a long, expensive winter.Solutions Delivered in a Few Months versus in 10 Years
The business as usual crowd claims that drilling in areas that have been off limits for 30 years will help Americans right now. Considering it will take seven to 10 years for offshore oil to get into the market, this clearly isn't the solution Americans need.
There is real solution that can help Americans with their energy costs: incentives for more efficient buildings and incentives for people to weatherize their homes so that for this season, and many more to come, their heating bills are lower.
That's the kind of bold, long-term solution Congress should be implementing. Speaker Pelosi and others in the U.S. House of Representatives have offered a bill that includes forward looking incentives for clean, homegrown energy that will reduce our energy costs.Voting Against Clean Energy 61 Times
Unfortunately, the drill-more, innovate-less crowd has launched a highly funded campaign and may try to strip the good, renewable energy provisions from the bill and add more drilling and more dirty fuels.
Proponents of drilling like to position themselves as trying to save Americans money at the gas pump. Yet Congressional allies of the oil industry have voted against efficiency and energy independence bills 61 times this year alone--effectively delaying relief from high gas prices and America's addiction to oil.What Congress Should Keep in the Legislation
They will be sticking to the same old tactics this week if they try to remove the good things House Leadership included in this bill. It is my hope that both the House and Senate enact legislation that will move us forward with clean energy, not backward with dirty energy. Congress should enact legislation to:
- End tax breaks for Big Oil and give taxpayers their money back so consumers can really save at the pump by buying new fuel-sipping cars or fixing up their old ones;
- Invest in our transportation infrastructure so people have more choices;
- Provide incentives for clean, homegrown technology;
- Provide efficiency incentives; and
- Double the average fuel efficiency of existing cars to at least 50 miles per gallon