Issue Position - Securing Our Energy Future: Promoting Homegrown Resources
During a visit to Flom, Minnesota, I met with gas station owner Butch Johnson. Butch was proud to have brought ethanol to Flom last spring and he had a picture on the refrigerator of pumping the first gallon of E-85 in the town's history. Less than 600 of the country's 180,000 gas stations offer alternative fuels like E-85. But it was the gas prices in Flom and all over Minnesota that were on Butch's mind over the Labor Day weekend. And for good reason. A 52 percent increase in Minnesota gas prices from June 1 to September 1 brought prices to the pump which we never imagined -- including $3.36 a gallon in Virginia, MN.
As I travel the state, many of you have shared your concerns about the rising costs of energy. And, of course, I've seen and experienced it myself every time I go to fill up my own car with gas. Experts say we should get used to these price levels, and not be surprised if they go even higher. Our country currently has to buy well over half of our oil from foreign countries. This growing dependence on foreign oil threatens both our prosperity and our national security. We can't continue down the same energy path that's got us here, but Washington seems more interested in protecting the big oil companies. Complacency is our enemy, and we need a comprehensive energy strategy to get us on a better course.
I'm proud that Minnesota is leading the way to energy independence. Minnesota farmers grow the corn that our producers turn into ethanol. As the price of foreign oil continues to rise, renewable sources like ethanol, biodiesel, wind, solar and biomass will be more and more viable alternatives. A number of months ago I had the opportunity to visit the ethanol plant in Benson (one of Minnesota's 16 ethanol plants, with one bio-diesel plant up and running and two more that just came on line). The workers are so proud of what they have done there -- combining Minnesota corn and Minnesota ingenuity to create homegrown Minnesota renewable energy. Renewable homegrown energy is good for our farmers, better for our environment and cheaper for our consumers. The oil lobbyists in Washington may not like it, but it's time to put Minnesota first.
The priorities in Washington need to change.
As your U.S. Senator, here's what I'll fight for:
I will fight to expand incentives for investment in homegrown, renewable energy sources and technology. Here in Minnesota, we have the ability to produce a wide variety of homegrown energy, including ethanol, biodiesel, wind, solar and biomass. We need to adopt renewable fuel content standards including ethanol, biodiesel, biomass - 10% by 2010 and 20% by 2020. We also need renewable standards for electricity so that 20% of our electricity comes from sources like wind and solar energy by 2020.
I will fight to improve our nation's energy efficiency and emission standards so we can reduce our dependence on foreign oil and move forward with greater use of renewable energy alternatives. We need to raise the fleet-wide fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks to at least 33 mpg by 2010.
I will fight to stop price gouging by oil companies. Last year, I called for a "gas gouging penalty" against oil companies that were gouging American consumers at the gas pump even before Hurricane Katrina. Oil companies were already enjoying record profits, with double-digit increases each quarter. Exxon Mobil is the richest company in America. It violates our basic principle of fair play when major oil companies can gouge consumers not only hurting ordinary families, but also harming other businesses that see their own costs go up dramatically. We need to make sure that American consumers are not paying the price for oil company shortcuts in production. Oil companies must be held accountable for the upkeep and oversight of their pipelines. In order to meet our nation's energy demands, we need to look at ways to increase our domestic oil production and promote responsible drilling.
I will fight to strengthen tax incentives for both the manufacture and purchase of hybrid and flexible-fuel vehicles and create a national Manhattan Project to focus on the development of new energy technology and enhancing energy science curriculum in schools.
I will fight to reduce global warming by adopting legislation to limit greenhouse gas emissions. By 2010, we need to limit greenhouse gas emissions to the 2000 level. By 2017, those emissions should be limited to the 1990 level, and we should allow companies that can't meet the lower cap to purchase credits from other companies that can.