Bipartisan Proposal Would End Oil Addiction
WASHINGTON (May 4, 2006) -- While some members of Congress are scrambling to conjure up a quick political fix for soaring gas prices, a long-term, bipartisan solution to America's energy needs is gaining momentum on Capitol Hill.
Today, Sen. Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico, the ranking Democrat on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, became the latest co-sponsor of the Vehicle and Fuel Choices for American Security Act.
That brings the number of backers to 14 Democrats and 7 Republicans. They include Democrats Maria Cantwell of Washington, John Kerry of Massachusetts, Blanche L. Lincoln of Arkansas and Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii; and Republicans Sam Brownback of Kansas, Lindsey O. Graham of South Carolina, Richard G. Lugar of Indiana and Jeff Sessions of Alabama.
In the House, the measure (H.R. 4409) already has 68 co-sponsors, about two-thirds of whom are Republicans, including Rep. Jack Kingston of Georgia, vice chair of the Republican Leadership Conference.
"This bill would promote national as well as economic security by reducing America's oil dependence through the use of alternative fuels, emerging technologies and a national commitment to oil savings," said Karen Wayland, NRDC's legislative director.
If enacted, S. 2025 would save America 2.5 million barrels of oil a day within a decade and 10 million barrels per day by 2031. The bill also would lead to cleaner, more efficient technologies that cut our oil consumption and reduce heat-trapping pollution responsible for global warming -- solutions like hybrid systems in our cars and trucks, and new biofuels made from crops grown by American farmers.
Biofuels could help position the United States by 2050 to produce more than three times the amount of oil we now import from the politically unstable Persian Gulf. And if combined with stronger fuel-economy performance standards and smart-growth policies, biofuels produced from switchgrass, woodchips and cornstalks could help virtually erase our demand for gasoline by mid-century.
That would also help reverse global warming -- a critical need that more and more of our leaders are recognizing, from business executives and members of the clergy to governors and mayors.
Sen. Bingaman joined as co-sponsor of the Vehicle and Fuel Choice for American Security Act as he introduced a bill of his own that also makes a national commitment to oil savings and incorporates other provisions in S. 2025 over which the energy committee has jurisdiction. Bingaman's bill would require that at least 10% of electricity comes from clean energy resources by 2020.
Because it includes tax provisions as well as energy policy, S. 2025 was referred to the Senate Finance Committee. Bingaman's proposal incorporates the energy policy provisions of the Vehicle and Fuel Choice for American Security Act.
Among those backing S. 2025 is the Set America Free Coalition, which is made up of national security experts who believe that America's reliance on foreign oil is a threat to our national security. Its members include former CIA Director R. James Woolsey and former White House National Security Advisor Robert C. McFarlane.