Cubin Introduces New Bill to Increase Domestic Refining Capacity
Congresswoman Barbara Cubin (R-WY) today introduced H.R. 6329, a bill that will significantly increase America's refining capacity, in turn reducing the pinch Americans feel each time we are at the pump.
"I understand a lot of steps are necessary to effectively combat the energy crunch, but the bill I introduced today makes crucial strides. No new refinery has been built in the U.S. since before my second son was born. He is now a practicing physician. My bill addresses this refining problem head-on by streamlining the construction of new refineries and making it easier for existing refineries to expand," Representative Cubin commented.
Many factors contribute to why a refinery has not been built in America since 1976, but first among the problems is government red tape. Along with the bureaucratic hurdles, the lack of approved sites has simply made it too expensive for a company to build a new refinery. Congresswoman Cubin's bill overcomes this by directing the Secretary of Energy to designate, within 90 days of the bill being signed into law, at least five "brownfield" sites appropriate for the construction of new refineries. Brownfields are properties where perceived or real minimal concentrations of hazardous waste or pollution deter reuse of the land. These sites range from closed down gas stations to former drycleaners. Many have been successfully cleaned-up for other beneficial local purposes, but thousands still sit idle across our nation.
The Congresswoman's bill also gives the Secretary guiding factors to consider when he makes his brownfield designations. These factors include regional refining needs, availability of nearby crude oil supplies and pipeline infrastructure, and the necessity to diversify the locations of our domestic refining capacity. The need to diversify the location of refineries in our nation was made all too clear in 2005, when a significant percentage of our refining capacity was shut down due to the massive hurricanes beating down on our southern coastline. Always mindful of the rights of states, Cubin's legislation also gives a Governor the ability to take a designated brownfield site in their state off the table for refinery construction. Representative Cubin continued, "With thousands of brownfields in the U.S., I am confident that there are numerous communities that will invite the increased local tax base, jobs, and new fuel that comes with the building of a local refinery. Just the same, I think it is vital that local communities are given the option to choose how they would like to use the land in their area."
The construction of the new refineries on brownfields will certainly take some time, which makes it all the more imperative to act quickly on this bill. In the meantime, to increase the supply of fuel on the market even more quickly, Cubin's bill also helps existing refineries expand their refining capacity. It does this by offering a tax deduction to any existing refinery that either increases its overall capacity by at least five percent or the amount of refined fuels to market by at least twenty-five percent. While this deduction was originally included in the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the IRS failed to implement it. Likewise, it expired before it could be effectively utilized. Congresswoman Cubin's bill will fix these problems by extending the deduction for an additional five years and requiring the IRS to make the deduction available within 90 days after the bill is enacted.
"The American people have told us they are frustrated and want to see a decrease in the price of gas. I have listened to their needs closely and share their frustrations. I drafted this bill to help American families and help our country. My bill will make real progress toward our energy security and produce real results for the American consumer," Cubin concluded.