Conservatives, Liberals See Opportunity to Break America's "Oil Addiction"

WASHINGTON (March 7, 2006) -- Support is growing in Congress for bipartisan energy security legislation that would save 2.5 million barrels of oil each day within a decade by combining sensible new oil savings objectives, and providing new incentives for consumers, farmers and auto manufacturers to invest in technologies that reduce our petroleum dependence once and for all.

At a hearing of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee today, lawmakers are hearing from experts about how our nation can achieve the goal of energy independence set by President Bush in his State of the Union address when he recognized America is "addicted to oil."

"Congress doesn't have to look far for an answer to the oil security challenge," said Karen Wayland, legislative director at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). "The bipartisan oil security legislation introduced in both the House and Senate offers a genuine chance to break the shackles of oil addiction. This bill can help America achieve energy independence and brings new voices to the call for safer, cleaner, more reliable energy policy."

Witnesses include former CIA Director Jim Woolsey; Susan M. Cischke Vice President for Environmental and Safety Engineering at Ford Motor Company; Frank A. Verrastro Director and Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies; and Amory B. Lovins, Chief Executive Officer of the Rocky Mountain Institute.

A Solution is Waiting

The "Fuel Choices For American Security Act" will reduce the amount of oil we need to fuel our economy, increase our national security, protect jobs now at risk in the auto sector, and grow the market for fuels made from agricultural products grown right here at home.

It has strong support from Republicans and Democrats; conservatives and liberals; as well as defense hawks and environmentalists.

Senate sponsors include Brownback (R-KS), Bayh (D-IN), Sessions (R-AL), Graham (R-SC), Obama (D-IL), Lieberman (D-CT), Coleman (R-MN), Lugar (R-IN), Salazar (D-CO), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Isakson (R-GA), and Chafee (R-RI).

The House bill is sponsored by Vice Chair of the Republican Leadership Conference Rep. Kingston (R-GA), Rep. Saxton (R-NJ), Rep. Engel (D-NY) and 40 other cosponsors.

The legislation includes:

  • Concrete oil savings targets, starting at 2.5 million barrels of oil per day within 10 years, achieved through new and existing authorities and incentives that will make the economy more competitive;

  • Incentives for automotive manufacturers and parts suppliers to invest in more efficient technologies to get Detroit's Big 3 back on their feet in the face of rising oil prices;

  • Incentives for American farmers to grow a new generation of fuels made from plants, and help for local gas station owners who install new pumps to get the fuel into drivers' tanks;

  • Doubling R&D authorization level for the bioenergy program in last year's energy bill; and

  • The power to set new efficiency performance standards for tires and heavy-duty trucks.

Renewable fuels have great potential for saving oil and reducing heat-trapping emissions responsible for global warming. A recent NRDC report shows that making ethanol biofuels using farm crops and agricultural leftovers yields significant net energy savings. For more information on the report, click here.