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Vehicle + Fuel Choices for American Security Act: info on proposed legislation
Nov 17, 2005 (From the CalCars-News archive)
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For this important bipartisan legislation, below are links to summary and description, followed by press release and the Associated Press story. To see coverage in online versions of Business Week, Forbes, Toronto Globe and Mail etc., you may have to paste back together this long URL: http://news.google.com/news?sourceid=mozilla-search&ie=UTF-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-a& rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&tab=wn&ncl=http://www.startribune.com/stories/587/5731704.html&hl=en

Summary of the legislation (one-page PDF) http://lieberman.senate.gov/documents/bills/051116energysecurityact.pdf

Section-by-section breakdown of the legislation (four-page PDF) http://lieberman.senate.gov/documents/bills /051116esecurity_sectionbysection.pdf

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 16, 2005 http://lieberman.senate.gov/newsroom/release.cfm?id=248870

Lieberman Introduces Bill Aimed at Reducing America's Dependence on Foreign Oil

Legislation would set new standards for fuel efficiency and emphasize the use of alternative fuels

WASHINGTON -Senator Joe Lieberman (D-CT) was joined today by Senators Sam Brownback (R-KS), Evan Bayh (D-IN), Norm Coleman (R-MN), Ken Salazar (D-CO), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Jeff Sessions (R-AL) in introducing bipartisan legislation which is aimed at breaking America's dependence on foreign oil. The Vehicle and Fuel Choices for American Security Act would mandate 10 million barrels in oil-savings in 25 years and would also require the mass-production of cars that can burn any combination of gasoline and alternative fuels or, alternatively, cars powered by efficient hybrid engines. Lieberman first laid out his proposal last month in speeches at Georgetown and Yale Universities.

"Given the facts of the growing, global dependency on oil - and given the fact that we have only limited oil reserves here at home - and given the fact that other solutions to our dependency are so readily at hand - failure to act will make us a pitiful giant, like Gulliver in Lilliput, tied down and subject to the whim of smaller nations who have," Lieberman said.

"It's good common sense to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and it's doable in the near-term," Brownback said. "This dependence limits our foreign policy and national security options, and there is broad public support for reducing oil consumption. We can create market incentives to use technologies available today to deal with a problem that will only get worse unless we take action."

"Achieving energy independence is one of the greatest challenges of our generation, one that will impact everything from our national security to our economy," Bayh said. "It will take an effort on par with the race to put a man on the moon, but we must find a way to reduce our dependence on foreign oil so that America is prepared for the future. We can't afford to rely on countries like Saudi Arabia and Venezuela for our energy needs any longer."

"The Vehicle and Fuel Choices for American Security Act is a strong national vision for America's future that moves us toward energy independence and increased national security," Coleman said. "Energy dependence is the greatest threat to our economy, our security, and our freedom this nation faces. This bill takes bold and aggressive action toward independence by mandating the saving of 2.5 million barrels per day over the next ten years, and furthers the development of alternative forms of energy by creating a plan to grow fuel on the farm and efficiently use oil. We attack these long range goals with real-world solutions, and I am proud of the leadership, commitment, and work of Senators Lieberman, Bayh, Brownback, and Graham as we work to achieve these objectives."

"Our Nation's over-dependence on foreign energy is a threat to our economic and national security," Salazar said. "The burden of high fuel costs is crushing our farmers, commuters and everyone who struggles day by day to make ends meet. Energy independence for America can no longer be just a goal; it is a necessity. America deserves better and this bill will deliver."

"The best thing we can do for our national security and future economic viability is to create a comprehensive energy plan," Graham said. "America must reduce its dependence on Mideast oil and fossil fuels in general. I hope this effort will be seen as a breakthrough toward achieving those goals."

"Reducing our dependence on foreign oil will make our country stronger and protect consumers against future fuel price spikes," Nelson said.

"With the price of gasoline for Americans doubling and the world price of oil tripling from $20 to $60 per barrel, America's national security is at risk," Sessions said. "This represents a tripling of America's wealth transfer to foreign nations, many of which are hostile to U.S. interests. This legislation is a bold step to deal with the energy crisis as a national security issue. Every single action that we can take to reduce consumption, increase domestic production and support new technologies is important. American innovation is the key to solving this problem."

The bill will also:

Set targets for manufacturers to produce flexible fuel vehicles (FFV), alternative fueled vehicles, hybrids, plug-in hybrids, fuel cell vehicles or other qualified vehicles that meet a performance standard of 175% of average fleet fuel economy - starting at 10% in 2012 and rising to 50% in 2016. After 2016 at least 10% of the 50% requirement must be met by hybrids, advanced diesels, plug-in hybrids and other non-FFV vehicles;

Require the Secretary of Energy to issue regulations for federal and state fleets covered by the Energy Policy Act of 1992 to reduce petroleum consumption by 30% from a 1999 baseline by FY2016. Require 30% of federal fleet requirement (22.5%-25% of the total fleet requirement) to be met by advanced diesels, hybrids or plug-in hybrids in 2016. Allow electric drive technology vehicles (hybrids) to qualify under the Federal Fleet requirements of EPAct;

Provide retooling tax credits for manufacturers and suppliers of advanced diesels and hybrids. (Nearly identical to Levin-Bayh amendment to the energy bill)

Create a tire efficiency program for tires used on light duty vehicles.

Create a fuel economy testing program and the implementation of efficiency standards for heavy duty vehicles (trucks, buses, etc).

Associated Press story ran in many places; here's one:
http://dwb.newsobserver.com/­24hour/­politics/­story/­2905456p-11568491c.html
The News & Observer
Published: Nov 16, 2005
Senate group unveils oil-saving plan

By H. JOSEF HEBERT, ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER

WASHINGTON (AP) - Efforts to stem America's appetite for oil, nearly two-thirds of it imported, are getting new attention in Congress with a push from an unusual coalition of environmentalists, evangelical Christians and conservatives.

The diverse groups are putting pressure on lawmakers to find ways to curtail oil use, especially in transportation, and to promote alternative fuels and new technologies less dependent on fossil fuels.

Environmentalists view reduced oil use as a way to curtail pollution and lower the risk of climate change. A number of conservatives and others argue the dependence on oil imports poses a security threat.

Both liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans in Congress are listening.

A bipartisan group of senators unveiled legislation Wednesday they said would save 2.5 million barrels of oil a day within a decade and 10 million barrels a day by 2031. The country now uses a little over 20 million barrels of oil a day, most of for transportation.

"Failure to act, we fear, will make America like a pitiful giant, tied down and subject to the whims of small (oil-producing) countries," said Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., calling U.S. dependence on foreign oil a national security risk.

The legislation would include tax breaks, as much as 35 percent, and loan guarantees to get automakers to switch from producing gas guzzlers to gas-electric hybrids, advanced diesel or other alternative technologies.

It also includes new tax breaks for those who buy such vehicles for car fleets, and incentives for developing alternative fuels such as ethanol from cellulosic biomass, research into use of lightweight material in cars, and the promotion of mass transit corridors.

"We must find a way to reduce our dependence on foreign oil so America is prepared for the future," said Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., one of the bill's co-sponsors.

Among those joining Lieberman and Bayh as co-sponsors were Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo., and GOP Sens. Sam Brownback of Kansas, Lindsay Graham of South Carolina, and Norm Coleman of Minnesota.

"This is a bipartisan effort," Brownback said in an interview. "This is just good common sense. This is where the public wants us to go. They want us to not be so dependent on foreign oil."

While lawmakers largely rejected proposals to curtail oil use in transportation in crafting energy legislation earlier this year, Brownback predicted political support for the new proposals. "There was a mental sea change in America when gas hit $3 a gallon," he said.

Earlier this year, Democrats tried to include a provision in a broad energy bill that later was signed into law by President Bush, which called on the president to develop programs that would cut oil consumption by 1 million barrels a day. It was opposed by the GOP majority and defeated.

"That was seen as a mandate," said Brownback, who opposed the measure. The new approach is based on incentives to reduce oil consumption, he said.

Among those supporting the new Senate initiative are environmentalists such as the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Apollo Alliance, a coalition of labor and environmental groups.

But they have been joined by mix of neo-conservatives and members of the Christian right who view the country's continued dependence on foreign oil
- especially from volatile areas such as the Middle East - as a threat to the nation's security, and in the view of some, American values.

Among those arguing forcefully that the country's dependence on foreign oil poses a security risk are former CIA Director James Woolsey and Robert McFarlane, former national security adviser to President Reagan.

A number of conservatives have formed a coalition called Set America Free which advocates a diversification of motor fuels, development of more fuel efficient cars and trucks especially hybrids, and increased research into the development of ethanol from cellulosic biomass.

Among the group's members are Gary Bauer, president of American Values; Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy, and Gal Luft, director of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security.

Mentions of the House of Representatives version of the bill are harder to find; here's one: http://www.washingtonpost.com/­wp-dyn/­content/­article/­2005/­11/­16/­AR2005111602267.html


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