Today we are facing a narrow window of opportunity on three fronts—our economy, our environment, and our national security.
Every recent economic downtown in our country has been preceded by a major price spike in energy prices, and 2008 was no exception.
With world oil production flat, we are likely going to see worse than $4 gasoline when the world economy turns around and demand returns.
Our legislation here today offers a way out of that economic trap—we can loosen our dependence on foreign oil supplies, which are limited and restricted, and create jobs and home-grown energy.
This legislation takes a “do it all, do it right” approach to energy policy.
• The bill today provides powerful incentives for plentiful, affordable renewable energy like wind and solar power.
• The bill will create tens of thousands jobs that save hundreds of billions of dollars in energy efficiency.
• The bill provides critical resources to increase the safety and security of our nuclear energy power plant fleet.
• The bill provides incentives to tap into our abundant, low-carbon supplies of American natural gas, which have increased by 40% in just the past two years.
• The bill improves upon the already substantial investments in carbon capture and sequestration for coal power that were made in the House legislation.
• The bill provides strong incentives to capture CO2 for enhanced domestic oil recovery which can increase our domestic oil supplies by four times—enough supply for a decade or more.
• The bill improves the Renewable Fuels Standard by creating a technology neutral standard which is important for new innovative sources of bio-fuel like algae.
The incentives in this legislation are based on a fundamental principle—the polluter pays. There should be a fee for permits to pollute, since pollution is a cost imposed by a profit making entity on society.
If polluters do not have to consider the costs of their actions, then society will face the costs of global warming—increased droughts, wildfires, crop loss, and flooding—and society at large will pay the costs instead.
Finally, we must find new sources of energy to preserve our national security and independence. Two-thirds of the world’s oil supplies lie in six Middle Eastern nations and Russia, which do not operate based on market principles.
Future Presidents will find national security decisions much easier if we enact this legislation and move rapidly towards energy independence.