Nov 28, 2005 (From the CalCars-News archive)
This update, from SetAmericaFree.org, can also be viewed (with photos) at http://www.setamericafree.org/safupdate112805.htm
Congress is listening: A bold step forward. As General Motors and Ford announced the elimination of thousands of jobs and the closing of nine U.S. plants over the next three years lawmakers from both Congressional chambers and both parties have taken a bold stand for energy security. On Nov. 16, in back to back press conferences in Congress bipartisan groups of prominent lawmakers in both the House and Senate introduced new legislation, based on the Set America Free blueprint for energy security, to cut America's oil dependence by 2.5 million barrels a day (mbd) over the next 10 years - MORE than the U.S. imports from the Middle East everyday - and significantly more thereafter. (Click here for photos)
The bills would permanently close a dangerous and costly gap in our national security by diversifying the supply of fuels in the transportation sector, which accounts for two thirds of U.S. oil consumption and is over 97% dependent on petroleum today, and speeding the adoption of advanced and efficient vehicles.
Sponsors of the Senate legislation, which is titled the Vehicle and Fuel Choices for American Security Act and aims to reduce oil dependence by 10 mbd in 25 years, include Sam Brownback (R-KS), Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), Norm Coleman (R-MN), Richard Lugar (R-IN), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Evan Bayh (D-IN), Ken Salazar (D-CO), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Barack Obama (D-IL) and Jeff Sessions (R-AL).
In the House, Representatives Jack Kingston (R-GA), Vice Chair of the Republican Conference, Jim Saxton (R-NJ) and Eliot Engel (D-NY) - the latter two are Co-chairs of the Oil and National Security Caucus - introduced, along with 22 other co-sponsors, the Fuel Choices for American Security Act of 2005 would reduce total oil demand in the United States by over 5 million barrels per day (or 20 percent in 20 years) by 2025.
The bill's provisions are similar to those offered by the Senate but in addition it adds "scoring" requirements for Congress to take into account the "oil savings" of a proposed measure to ensure an honest debate. It requires an internal audit of the federal government's usage of fuel and based on those findings, development of a plan to save more fuel. "For far too long, the United States has been at the mercy of foreign nations for its fuel. This dependence is one of our greatest risks because it not only threatens our national security, but also our economic security. America can and must do better. This legislation is a plan to help America realize its fuel independence from Middle East oil by 2015," Kingston said. "America has proven in the past that when it sets a goal, it always crosses the finish line. The time to start and win this race is now."
Kudos to all the Congressmen who co-sponsored the bill: Rep Bachus, Spencer [AL-6]; Rep Barrow, John [GA-12]; Rep Bishop, Sanford D., Jr. [GA-2]; Rep Bishop, Timothy H. [NY-1]; Rep Burgess, Michael C. [TX-26]; Rep Burton, Dan [IN-5]; Rep Chabot, Steve [OH-1]; Rep Conaway, K. Michael [TX-11]; Rep Deal, Nathan [GA-10]; Rep Ehlers, Vernon J. [MI-3]; Rep Gilchrest, Wayne T. [MD-1]; Rep Inglis, Bob [SC-4]; Rep Johnson, Nancy L. [CT-5]; Rep Kelly, Sue W. [NY-19]; Rep Linder, John [GA-7]; Rep Pence, Mike [IN-6]; Rep Pitts, Joseph R. [PA-16]; Rep Price, Tom [GA-6]; Rep Renzi, Rick [AZ-1]; Rep Tancredo, Thomas G. [CO-6]; Rep Terry, Lee [NE-2]; Rep Westmoreland, Lynn A. [GA-8]; Rep Wilson, Joe [SC-2].
The Senate and House legislation puts the U.S. on the path to greater independence by setting specific oil savings targets and requiring that the government develop and implement a national plan to achieve them. The bills provide flexibility in how the oil savings are achieved but provide important new oil savings tools to help us get there, including:
- Make fuel flexibility a standard feature so that Americans can choose which fuel they want to use to fuel their car;
- Increase consumer incentives for purchase of efficient vehicles, beyond those provided by the energy bill;
- Provide incentives for private fleets to purchase more fuel efficient vehicles;
- Provide incentives for fuel stations to install alternative fuel pumps;
- Provide incentives to speed the commercialization of technologies that would significantly reduce the use of petroleum, such as light weight materials (the kind of super safe materials that race cars and planes are made of) and plug-in hybrid vehicles;
- Help communities increase the use of public transit.
The full text of the bills is available here: House bill: Fuel Choices for American Security Act of 2005 http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c109:H.R.4409: Senate bill: Vehicle and Fuel Choices for American Security Act http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c109:S.2025:
In their own words.
Senator Sam Brownback:
"It's good common sense to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and it's
doable in the near-term. 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
Senator Joe Lieberman: "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."
Senator Jeff Sessions: "Every American consumer knows the price of gas has doubled and the world price of oil has tripled from $20 to $60 per barrel. These price increases represent a massive transfer of America's wealth 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."
Senator Evan Bayh: "Achieving energy independence is one of the greatest challenges of our generation, one that will impact everything from our national security to our economy. 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."
Senator Lindsey Graham: "The best thing we can do for our national security and future economic viability is to create a comprehensive energy plan. 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."
Senator Ken Salazar: "Our Nation's over-dependence on foreign energy is a threat to our economic and national security. 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."
Senator Richard Lugar: "In the short-run, our dependence on oil has created a drag on economic performance at home and troubling national security burdens overseas. In the long-run, this dependence is pushing the United States toward an economic disaster that could mean diminished living standards, increased risks of war, and accelerated environmental degradation."
Senator Bill Nelson: "Reducing our dependence on foreign oil will make our country stronger and protect consumers against future fuel price spikes."
Senator Norm Coleman: "The Vehicle and Fuel Choices for American Security Act is a strong national vision and strategic plan for America's future that puts us on the path toward energy independence and increased national security. 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 and offers real-world solutions, utilizing the resources we have on American soil and, in particular, on Minnesota farms. We must have energy independence, or we risk losing our autonomy."