In the Energy and Commerce Committee today, Congressman Joe Pitts (R, PA-16) attached his legislation (H.R. 3887), with minor changes, to H.R. 3893, the Gasoline for America's Security Act of 2005. The Pitts amendment directs the Administration to identify three closed military bases that would be suitable for refinery construction. It passed the committee by a vote of 24 to 21.
"Our ability to refine oil and supply gas to consumers has not kept pace with demand for gasoline," said Congressman Pitts. "That is because we have not built a new refinery in more than 30 years. Volumes of regulations and skyrocketing litigation costs prevent the construction of new refineries.
"Environmental regulations are very important and necessary; however, when taken to the extreme, they are harmful. We have to find an environmentally-responsible way to get new refineries online. H.R. 3893 streamlines these regulations while maintaining the safeguards we rely on to protect our environment.
"My amendment provides a critical first step in this process by identifying land that could be used for refineries. It does not give land away. And it does not change the requirement that companies protect the environment. It simply sets the land aside for two years until a company is able to purchase the land and build a refinery," said Congressman Pitts.
Congressman Pitts' amendment directs the Administration to identify three bases, or portions of three bases, closed by the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) process within ninety days of enactment of the bill. Once identified, that land would be set aside for two years, reserved exclusively for oil refinery construction. After that time, the land may be sold or otherwise transferred. The Amendment allows the governor of the states where these bases are located may veto the designation of the sites for refinery construction.