For Immediate Release

Date: Thursday, July 20, 2006

 

CONTACT: Jim Manley / Rebecca Kirszner (202) 224-2939

 

DEMOCRATS CALL FOR COMPREHENSIVE ENERGY REFORM

Washington, DC41 Senate Democrats today sent the following letter to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, urging him to put aside divisive partisan issues in favor of accomplishing real and substantial energy reform in the 109th Congress. With gas prices rising to near-record levels, Democrats believe the Senate has a responsibility to adopt fiscally responsible policies that will break America’s dangerous addiction to oil, protect consumers from price gouging and market manipulation, invest in alternative sources of energy, and confront the problem of global climate change.

Democrats have offered the Clean EDGE Act, comprehensive legislation to put America on the path to energy independence, and have cosponsored numerous bipartisan legislative solutions to address the energy crisis. With the price of gas increasing and the time remaining for the 109th Congress to address the problem rapidly decreasing, Democrats believe it is time the Senate put aside partisanship and work to help all Americans.

The text of the letter is below.

July 20, 2006

 

 

The Honorable William H. Frist

Majority Leader

United States Senate

Washington, D.C.  20510

 

Dear Majority Leader Frist:

 

Energy prices continue to be of great concern to Americans -- record fuel prices and growing supply volatility and unreliability are hurting consumers and the economy.  Substantial and comprehensive changes to the nation’s energy policy continue to be needed to improve our national security, promote economic growth, and protect consumers and the environment. 

 

As you may be aware, approximately 100 energy-related bills and amendments have been introduced in the Senate since passage of last year’s energy bill, by Senators of both parties.  These include a number of significant proposals to improve the nation’s energy policy that have been sponsored by numerous members of our caucus (for example, S.2829, the Clean EDGE Act of 2006), as well as a number of groundbreaking bipartisan proposals (for example, S.2025, the Vehicles and Fuels Choices for American Security Act, S.2747, the Enhanced Energy Security Act of 2006, or S.2677, the Securing America’s Energy Independence Act).  As many of us noted in a letter to the President on May 17, 2006, we are eager to work to increase America’s energy security and independence.

 

The Senate can still accomplish significant energy policy changes this year, if it avoids getting bogged down in lengthy, unproductive debates on divisive issues, such as rolling back the environmental standards that protect the air we breathe and the water we drink.  We believe this effort should begin with a set of core principles that can help America achieve forward-looking energy goals, and that can be embraced by Senators in both parties.  We think that the following points summarize those core principles, and we stand ready to work with you to pass legislation that would reflect these principles:

 

 

·        As part of reducing our national dependence on petroleum, the United States must launch an aggressive effort designed to ensure that an increasing number of new vehicles sold in America can run on alternative fuels, starting with 25 percent in 2010. In order for this to make a real difference in reducing our dependence on oil, this effort must be paired with a bold initiative to make smart investments in American infrastructure and promote real competition at the gas pump.

 

·        The United States government—our nation’s single largest energy consumer—must help lead the transition to lower petroleum dependence, by adopting the best available fuel efficiency and alternative vehicle technologies. The federal fleet should reduce its petroleum consumption by 20 percent over the next five years, and save at least 40 percent by 2020.

 

·        In the nearer term, the United States must ensure that our consumers are protected from gasoline price gouging and energy market manipulation.  Numerous bills have been introduced on this topic – it is time for them to be acted upon.

 

·        The United States must level the playing field for new renewable and energy efficiency technologies. We can provide incentives for consumers and manufacturers to accelerate the market for these technologies and the next generation of fuel efficient vehicles, by ensuring major oil companies pay their fair share in taxes and royalties owed to the American public.

 

·        The United States must recognize that our future energy policy and climate policy are inextricably linked.  The United States must start taking steps to curb greenhouse gas emissions in any new energy bill, including diversifying sources of electric generation to include a greater percentage of renewable resources.  Proposals for increased use of alternative fuels must also reflect an assessment of the total systems greenhouse gas impact of producing and using those fuels.

 

·        Finally, new energy proposals that affect spending or revenues must be fiscally responsible and take into account the true long-term impact of those proposals.

 

We believe all of these goals can be achieved in a way that makes energy more affordable and reliable for America’s families, farmers, and businesses.  We hope that you will choose to work with us to provide all Americans with a cleaner and more secure energy future.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Senator Harry Reid

Senator Dick Durbin

Senator Daniel Akaka

Senator Evan Bayh

Senator Joe Biden

Senator Jeff Bingaman

Senator Barbara Boxer

Senator Robert Byrd

Senator Maria Cantwell

Senator Thomas Carper

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton

Senator Mark Dayton

Senator Christopher Dodd

Senator Byron Dorgan

Senator Russ Feingold

Senator Tom Harkin

Senator Daniel Inouye

Senator Jim Jeffords

Senator Tim Johnson

Senator Edward Kennedy

Senator John Kerry

Senator Herb Kohl

Senator Mary Landrieu

Senator Frank Lautenberg

Senator Patrick Leahy

Senator Carl Levin

Senator Joe Lieberman

Senator Blanche Lincoln

Senator Bob Menendez

Senator Barbara Mikulski

Senator Patty Murray

Senator Bill Nelson

Senator Barack Obama

Senator Mark Pryor

Senator Jack Reed

Senator John D. Rockefeller

Senator Ken Salazar

Senator Paul Sarbanes

Senator Charles Schumer

Senator Debbie Stabenow

Senator Ron Wyden

 

 

###