Issue Position: Increasing Energy Security
"Both our national and economic security depend on our ability to diversify our energy supply so that we are less reliant on foreign sources of oil. Accomplishing this will require a balanced, multilateral approach that includes all available technologies: the continued development of alternative fuels, nuclear power and renewables such as solar and wind; investment in research and technology; the expansion of our refinery capacity to include biorefineries and coal-to-liquid facilities; conservation of our resources; and enhancing oil and gas production in an environmentally friendly way." - Senator Bob Corker
Senator Corker believes both our national and economic security depend on our ability to diversify our energy supply so that we are less reliant on foreign sources of oil.
Promoting Domestic Energy Production: Senator Corker believes that in order to keep our economy competitive and the job market strong, we need to increase our domestic energy supply. At a time when Americans are paying record fuel prices and want to reduce our country's reliance on foreign oil, states should be allowed to pursue environmentally responsible exploration and production offshore if they choose. During consideration of the CLEAN Energy Act, Corker voted to allow natural gas exploration off the coast of Virginia, and he supports environmentally-friendly production of oil and gas in the Outer Continental Shelf and in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Senator Corker also supports the expansion of nuclear energy as another critical component of boosting our domestic energy supply.
Increasing Offshore Oil Production: Senator Corker is anxious for the day, hopefully in our very near future, when most Americans will be driving affordable vehicles powered by electricity and other non-petroleum-based technologies, but while we're transitioning to this promising future he believes it makes sense to use our own oil reserves rather than shipping billions of dollars overseas to countries that would do us harm. Presently, this dependence is resulting in a massive transference of wealth and accumulation of trade deficits for our country, and unless we make changes we will be even more dependent on this volatile region. Senator Corker supports environmentally friendly offshore oil production because he believes it is a bridge to the future while we invest in alternative energy technology. The reality is we cannot make the transition to alternatives overnight.
Supporting Alternative Fuels: Senator Corker voted for the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (H.R. 6), which promotes development of biofuel alternatives to Middle Eastern oil. Senator Corker is proud of the leadership role Tennessee is playing in researching and developing alternatives to foreign oil. This legislation is good for our country and good for Tennessee. In addition to promoting biofuels, this legislation conserves energy by improving energy efficiency standards and reduces gasoline consumption by increasing fuel economy standards.
Expanding Our Fuel Options: Senator Corker introduced an amendment to an earlier version of H.R. 6, the CLEAN Energy Act, which would have promoted the development of a variety of clean fuels to maximize alternatives to Middle Eastern oil. Senator Corker believes that in addition to ethanol, other alternatives should be encouraged.
Supporting Fuel-Efficient Vehicles: Senator Corker cosponsored a bipartisan amendment that was included in the CLEAN Energy Act that would reduce our gasoline consumption by making our vehicles more fuel-efficient, saving consumers money and reducing our dependence on foreign oil. While conserving gasoline, this amendment also ensures that vehicles will remain safe and cost-effective. The Senator strongly supported this particular approach because it reforms and strengthens the current fuel efficiency regulations by ensuring that all vehicles, whether small and light or large and heavy, are made to be as fuel efficient as possible. This provision was also included and signed into law as part of the Energy Independence and Security Act.
Stimulating Growth of Nuclear Power: Senator Corker strongly supports the expansion of nuclear energy, a clean, non-fossil power source that will make our country more energy secure. Because of volatile natural gas prices and increased concern over carbon dioxide emissions, the Senator believes that we have a tremendous opportunity to foster a resurgence in nuclear power. The CLEAN Energy Act, which the Senator voted for, contained a provision that is vital to the financing of additional nuclear power plants. Unfortunately, this provision was excluded from the final energy bill. With electricity demand in the U.S. expected to increase by 50% in 2030, a significant increase in nuclear power is essential.
Incentivizing Clean Coal Technology: Senator Corker firmly believes we should incentivize technologies that will meet the goals of producing clean, stable energy from the country's most abundant energy resourcecoal. At the suggestion of Senator Corker, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources held a hearing on clean coal technologies. This hearing reinforced coal's potential to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. Senator Corker is also supportive of demonstrating new approaches to capture and store carbon dioxide from coal plants and cosponsored two bills to accomplish this, which were included in the Energy Independence and Security Act that was signed into law.
Encouraging Clean Electricity: Senator Corker believes that we need to support a broad energy portfolio rather than take a one-size-fits-all approach. For this reason, during consideration of two energy bills, Senator Corker opposed a provision that would have required a certain percentage of electricity to be generated from a very narrow range of renewable energy sources. The Southeast does not have an abundance of these resources and the standard would unfairly increase electricity costs for Tennessee consumers. In order to encourage clean energy without picking winners and losers, the Senator supported an amendment that would have allowed a standard to be met by a wide variety of clean energy sources, including nuclear and hydro-power sources that are available in the Southeast.