Monday, January 08, 2007

New U.S. Energy Bill for 2007 Proposed

Source: Office of Senator Jeff Bingaman
[Jan 06, 2007]

SYNOPSIS: Energy Committee Chairman Bingaman's floor statement on S.
6, which addresses energy and climate issues.

"Mr. President, I'm pleased to cosponsor S. 6, the National Energy
and Environment Security Act of 2007. This is a message bill that
Sen. Reid introduced earlier today. It lays out a number of important
goals that will guide our thinking and our action on energy-related
matters, including the issue of global warming, in the 110th Congress.

"Let me talk briefly about five key goals that are mentioned in the
bill. These goals will be subject to much more detailed discussion in
future weeks and action both in the Energy Committee and in the
Environment Committee as well.

"The first goal in the bill is to reduce our dependence on foreign
and unsustainable energy sources. Any national energy strategy to
reduce that dependence will have to maintain our domestic production
of oil and gas as well as undertake three basic initiatives. The
first of those initiatives is to greatly increase the efficiency of
the cars and trucks that we put on the road in this country. There
are a lot of ideas on how to do this. They include several proposals
for increased cafe standards as well as the so-called feebate
proposals that encourage the production and sale of high-efficiency
vehicles. I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides
of the aisle to try to move these proposals forward.

"Another way to reduce our dependence is to further develop
alternative fuels and particularly biofuels. In that regard, we need
to focus on broadening the base of biological feedstocks that are
used to make fuels such as ethanol. This is an issue we'll be
focusing on in the Energy Committee.

"A third way is to look at the other new technologies for our cars
and our trucks. There is much promise in hybrid vehicles, with larger
batteries that can be charged overnight -- so-called plug-in hybrids.
This sort of technology can help reduce the demand for gasoline.

"The second goal in the bill is to reduce our exposure to the risks
of global warming. There are several Senate committees with interest
in this issue. The Environment & Public Works Committee has the
primary jurisdiction, but over 95 percent of U.S. carbon monoxide
emission and the greenhouse gas emissions come from energy
production, distribution and use. We want to work with other
committees to find the best way to deal with this important issue.

"The third goal in the bill is to diversify and expand our use of
secure, efficient and environmentally friendly energy supplies and
technologies. Efficiency is a key element in our energy policy that
deserves more attention in this Congress than we have been able to
give it before. There are outstanding opportunities to reduce the
demands of our future energy system by being more efficient and
effective in the ways we distribute and use energy. I will not go
into those at this point except to say that this is going to be a
major focus of our work in the first few months.

"A fourth goal of the bill is to reduce the burdens on consumers of
rising energy prices. We need to make sure that programs such as the
low-income home energy assistance program are fully funded and
targeted at low-income and working families.

"And the fifth goal in the bill is to eliminate tax giveaways and
prevent energy price gouging and manipulation. We're all agreed that
those are issues that need attention.

"All of this is a tall order for Congress. I would predict that
instead of seeing just one big energy bill, we will be addressing
these issues through multiple bills that move through the Senate as
issues and proposals for addressing these issues become ripe for action.

"In the Senate we will not make much progress on energy or
environment unless we can develop a strong bipartisan approach on the
issues. The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources has a strong
tradition of bipartisan accomplishment that I plan on continuing in
this new Congress. I look forward to working with my colleague, Sen.
Pete Domenici, and all members of the committee as we forge an
effective path forward to promote our energy and energy-related
environmental security."

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