UNITED STATES-ISRAEL ENERGY COOPERATION ACT -- (House of Representatives - July 26, 2006)
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Mr. SHERMAN. Mr. Speaker, there is no greater problem in this world than our dependence on petroleum. There is no greater problem for our Nation.
There is no greater problem for our economy than the fact that we have to import so much oil, sending billions of dollars every year to other countries, thereby impacting our balance of payments.
There is no greater problem for families than paying for gasoline and paying to cool or heat their homes.
There is no greater problem for the environment than the pollution caused when we burn petroleum, and there is no greater problem for the environment than global warming and the production of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
There is no greater problem for our national security than our reliance on foreign petroleum, first, the physical security of that petroleum and, second, the fact that the rest of the world, if not the United States, finds it necessary in order to acquire petroleum to give money to such countries as Iran and others who use that money for nefarious purposes.
Therefore, there is nothing that we can do that is more important than
weaning the United States and the world off its dependence of petroleum. And the first step is research, and an important part of that research is cooperative research with other countries similarly dedicated to finding alternative energy.
There is perhaps no better partner than Israel. For the prime minister of Israel just a couple months ago, as the gentleman from Arizona pointed out, stood in this hall and said, ``Both Israel and the United States share a desire for energy security and prevention of global warming. Therefore, through the United States-Israel Energy Cooperation Act, in collaboration with our U.S. counterparts, Israel will increase its efforts to find advanced scientific and technological solutions designed to develop new energy sources and encourage conservation.''
As the prime minister pointed out, Israel and the United States have a strong mutual interest in advanced alternative energy research. Both countries are on the cutting edge of this scientific research. With modest investment, we can help stimulate joint efforts between American and Israeli private sector institutions and academic institutions to work toward the development of technology that reduces the world's dependence on petroleum.
In the 108th Congress, I introduced a very similar bill to the one that is before us today. It has been a pleasure to work with the gentleman from Arizona in introducing this bill last year, an improved version of the bill, and to work with so many, including the gentleman from New York, to see that that bill would reach this floor.
H.R. 2730 would allow the Department of Energy to invest up to $20 million annually to provide joint ventures between the U.S. and Israeli business and academic researchers both for alternative energy sources and for energy conservation. The Federal Government could recoup some or all of the monies so appropriated since, as the gentleman from Arizona pointed out, under each grant is an obligation for the grantee to pay the money back if the investment is successful and revenues are obtained.
Now, this legislation builds on existing cooperative efforts, including the United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation and the United States-Israel Binational Research and Development Foundation. These two entities have already made scientific breakthroughs in a variety of fields, including the life sciences, medicine, bioengineering, agriculture, and communications. Now it is time to redouble these efforts and to focus on energy. As the gentleman from New York pointed out, we have already had cooperative efforts with Israel on energy and he had added language in a bill passed last year to redouble those efforts. It is now time to pass the U.S.-Israel Energy Cooperation Act so that we would have a vehicle to move forward and work with Israel to use its cutting-edge scientific knowledge, and ours, to wean the world one step at a time off the need for consumption of petroleum.
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