ENERGY POLICY ACT OF 2005
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Mr. KOHL. Mr. President, I rise today in support of the Energy bill. This country needs a coherent policy to meet the growing demand for energy that comes with economic growth. America needs a supply of affordable, reliable energy. We need an Energy bill that will give us lower prices, a cleaner environment, greater consumer protection and I believe this current version of the Senate Energy bill does just that.
We in Congress have had an opportunity to craft a far-reaching and progressive energy policy for this country. I believe we owe it to the American people to put together a well balanced plan that meets the needs of everyone, consumers and industry alike, instead of playing favorites and leaving the taxpayers with the bill. Unlike the House version, I am pleased that the Senate version of the Energy bill does not give the makers of the gasoline additive MTBE liability protection from environmental lawsuits. In the past MTBE has been a very contentious issue in the Energy bill, but I am optimistic that the Senate and House can garner an agreement on the MTBE provision. .
I support alternative energy development and I believe this legislation provides the necessary incentives for the development of alternative forms of energy. The bill protects the economic and environmental health of our country by encouraging the use of alternative power sources, including solar, wind, biomass, hydrogen, geothermal, and other renewable energy resources. By including a ten percent Renewable Portfolio Standard for utilities, the Senate took a bold step toward the promotion of clean, sustainable energy. I have long believed that our Nation must implement a sensible national energy policy which emphasizes greater energy conservation and efficiency, as well as the development of renewable resources.
Recent events in the Middle East, coupled with the environmental problems associated with the use of fossil fuels, have only increased the need for such a comprehensive policy. Simply put, we cannot continue to rely on imported oil to meet such a large part of our Nation's energy needs. This dependence places our economic security at great risk. At present, petroleum imports account for fully one-half of our national oil use and one-third of our trade deficit. In addition, the use of oil and other fossil fuels contributes to global climate change, air pollution, and acid rain. For these reasons I supported a strong ethanol mandate in the bill, to help improve our energy independence and help clean the environment.
This legislation, which I voted for, is not the perfect answer for solving our energy problems in this county. Few pieces of legislation that we vote on are, but I believe this legislation takes the right steps in helping our country move toward a more self-sufficient and well balanced society for our energy needs.