Statement of Senator Jim Jeffords, I-Vt.
Markup of S. 1772, GAS Price Act of 2005
And Other Legislation We have quite a full schedule today, so I will be brief. I want to focus my remarks on the Chairman’s Mark for S. 1772, the GAS Price Act of 2005. I acknowledge, Mr. Chairman, that you have made some positive changes to your bill. I believe you made the correct decision to eliminate the $1.5 billion in loan guarantees for ultra clean diesel facilities contained in your original bill. Unfortunately, though, the changes do not go far enough to allow me to support the bill. I am not convinced, on the basis of hearing testimony last week, that permitting requirements under federal law are providing a serious impediment to refining capacity. And even if they were, EPA is working to implement the streamlined permitting authority for refinery projects contained in the new energy law Congress just passed. We have no need to create a new, competing provision of law that imposes strict permitting deadlines, limits public participation, and changes standards for judicial review for participating states and tribes. I do not believe that refinery projects located on former defense property should get the maximum allowable grant from the Economic Development Administration. Nor do I think refineries should get what is now a “performance grant” for projects that create jobs at low costs without demonstrating they are good employers. I believe that, not only should refinery projects be treated the same as other manufacturers, but that their record high profits could be invested in increasing capacity. But, as I highlighted at the hearing, I am most concerned that the Chairman’s Mark continues to make additional changes to the Clean Air Act in the name of addressing boutique fuels. These changes go beyond those in our new energy law. This bill exempts states that have received fuel waivers from accounting for any resulting air pollution under the Clean Air Act. It also provides a mechanism for further reducing the number of boutique fuels, without taking into account what we have done in the new energy law as well. We will be considering several amendments today, and if the bill is not significantly changed, I cannot support it. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.