Congress Can Improve Energy Needs

President Bush is right, America is far too dependent upon foreign powers for our energy needs and we must improve the nation’s energy security.

Congress should build upon the significant gains made in passing the bi-partisan energy bill in 2005 where Congress made a commitment to advancing clean technologies and expanding domestic energy production.

While chairman of the EPW Committee, I worked with my colleagues to include several provisions in the energy bill that have helped expand refinery capacity, expand the use of nuclear energy and strengthen security at nuclear facilities, and improve permitting processes so we can explore our domestic resources in an environmentally-conscious manner. These provisions continue to benefit Oklahoma and the nation as a whole.

I am a strong proponent of increasing energy security by increasing domestic production. However, we must carefully measure the President’s ambitious proposal to drastically increase the use of alternative fuels, particularly when the unintended consequences of such a mandate could have on the American people.

While chairman, I worked closely with my colleagues to craft a responsible bi-partisan compromise that lead to the historic RFS included in the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Since passage of that comprehensive measure last August, I chaired three EPW Committee oversight hearings on transportation fuels, and a legislative hearing on my bill that improve the process to build critical fuels infrastructure.

My careful examination of ethanol and monitoring the RFS implementation has lead me to voice concern over increasing costs of food and feed. Secure energy supply must be grounded on three key principles — stable, diverse, and affordable. I look forward to weighing how the President’s initiative meets this test.

I commend the President for his continued commitment to increasing domestic refining capacity. As chairman of the EPW Committee, I introduced the Gas PRICE Act and Energy Price Reduction Act, legislation designed to increase refining capacity for gasoline and boutique fuels, only to see Senate Democrats block and obstruct reasonable legislation.

As the President said, increased refining capacity can go a long way in addressing the nation’s short-, mid-, and long-term fuels challenges. My refining legislation established greater regulatory certainty without changing any environmental law, through improving efficiency, and by establishing a future for the use of ultra-clean transportation fuels derived from abundant domestic resources such as coal and renewable agriculture sources.