WASHINGTON, DC – Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, today blasted Senators who have previously claimed their support for coal-to-liquids, who today voted against an amendment that sought to improve the permitting process for the construction of coal-to-liquids facilities. Those Senators include: Obama (D-IL); Baucus (D-MT); Tester (D-MT); Landrieu (D-LA); Salazar (D-CO); Conrad (D-ND); Dorgan (D-ND); Byrd (D-WV); Rockefeller (D-WV).
“The record is now clear,” Senator Inhofe said. “Many of my colleagues in the United States Senate have claimed to be proponents of coal-to-liquids technology. Today those Senators were forced to put themselves on record – and they voted against it. Their constituents and the American people are entitled to know how they vote, rather than what they might ‘declare’ in press conferences.”
“Today the Democrats rejected an amendment that would have significantly helped reduce the price of gas at the pump -- an issue that is sure to dominate in the 2008 presidential election. Americans are paying more at the pump today because we do not have the domestic capacity to produce the fuels consumers demand. The American public is starving for affordable energy and it appears the Democrats' only answer is to tell them to go on a diet. It is imperative for the national security of this country that we increase production at home. Despite the rhetoric by some Democratic leaders about energy independence, they continue to oppose measures that would address key factors in helping America achieve that goal. This will come back to haunt the Democrats as the American public learns about the Democrat's opposition to coal.”
The amendment, Senator Inhofe’s Gas PRICE Act, was defeated in the Senate today by a vote of 43-52.
A diverse group of interests have called to develop coal-to-liquids, from the Department of Defense for national security reasons to Montana’s Governor Schweitzer for more parochial and environmental reasons. In his op-ed in the New York Times titled, “The Other Black Gold” Governor Schweitzer stated, “We are tired of paying $3 a gallon for gas, tired of watching third-world nations overtake us in energy innovation, and tired of supporting the kind of tyrants that young Americans have spent two centuries fighting and dying to defeat.”
Senator Inhofe agrees with Montana’s Democratic Governor. We should be producing more fuel at home – it’s good for security, it’s good for jobs, and it’s good for consumers. Yet, Governor Schweitzer also correctly points out that it can be good for the environment. He states, “Synfuels" have remarkable properties: they are high-performing substances that run in existing engines without any technical modifications, and they burn much more cleanly than conventional fuels.” Noting those observations, Senator Inhofe included a provision to require the EPA to demonstrate using these syn-fuels as an emissions control strategy. Initial tests are encouraging, indeed.