Objective is to Increase Supplies of Clean Fuels to Meet Environmental and Consumer Demands WASHINGTON, DC – Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Chairman of the Environment & Public Works Committee, today outlined plans by the Committee to address existing energy concerns by reviewing several issues within its jurisdiction pertaining to refineries, national fuel policies and energy infrastructure. “Hurricane Katrina exposed a number of deficiencies in our nation’s energy policy,” Senator Inhofe said. “In the coming days and weeks, the EPW Committee will review these deficiencies and consider their solutions or alternatives. We have to look at how our refineries are regulated, and examine closely the existing energy infrastructure to ensure that we will not be vulnerable to future catastrophes like Katrina.” The Environment and Public Works Committee will examine the following: Regulations impacting the refining industry. Regulations can be better integrated to meet consumer and environmental requirements. Refineries are among the most complex and heavily regulated businesses in the world. As such, they must comply with a number of environmental laws, including the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. The industry must meet significant current and future requirements, and even more after implementation of the recently signed energy bill. Policies must be protective of human health and the environment while also ensuring a strong and vibrant American economy. New refineries. During its May 2004 hearing, the Committee learned that historic economic factors mixed with regulatory uncertainty have impeded new refinery construction. The EPW Committee has been reviewing those issues since, and Hurricane Katrina underscores the need to diversify the nation’s refining industry. One solution could be embracing President Bush’s desire to consider current and former BRAC facilities for new refinery construction. The EPW Committee will consider more collaborative and certain permitting processes for new refineries on such sites as well as other locations. Fuels Policy. In response to the nation’s largest natural disaster, EPA issued significant and broad waivers under the Clean Air Act to ensure a sufficient supply of transportation fuels for motorists, businesses, and consumers across the nation. The EPW Committee is reviewing the way in which States develop and the federal government approves special or “boutique fuels” to address air issues facing particular regions and whether these boutique blends affect the high gasoline prices facing Americans. Energy Infrastructure. The EPW Committee’s hearing May 25, 2005 concerning energy project permitting demonstrated an uncertain permitting process for all manner of energy projects. Hurricane Katrina highlighted many lessons, including the vulnerable nature of critical infrastructure and the need to transport energy from and to all regions of the country. In light of the Committee’s prior work, and today’s need to rebuild and expand critical infrastructure, we will work to ensure a practical, certain, and efficient process. Future Fuels. The Committee is considering projects to develop new forms of non-polluting and domestic energy, including transportation fuels. The development of such new alternative forms of energy must be afforded expedited review and EPA certification to assist American families, and national security, in general. A clean, domestic, and affordable fuel is a possibility, and the Committee will work to make it a reality.