Sound energy policy is key to a strong America. I stand with Democrats and Republicans who have issued energy proposals focusing on renewable resources, such as wind, hydroelectric, biomass, and solar, instead of increased oil and natural gas drilling, for energy production.
As a member of the House Caucus on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, I believe that it is essential to protect the environment through increased conservation efforts. Energy policies rooted in drilling and non-renewable resources place us no closer to energy dependence than we are today.
In the energy debates of the previous Congresses, I called for corporate responsibility of industries that produce products that are highly dependent on oil and gas. All too often we just talk about production of energy rather than conservation.
I have continually opposed bureaucratic hurdles that prevent environmental protections for Florida's coastline and might lead to potential oil spills. While it is important to provide relief to the consumers amid the skyrocketing energy prices, offshore drilling will achieve just the opposite. When Republicans controlled the House of Representatives, I challenged their counter-productive energy policies which did not reduce our dependency on oil and have harmed our environment. Rest assured that I will vigorously oppose any incentives directed at lifting the current moratoria that have been safeguarding our nation's shores and off the coast of the Florida.
I have also been instrumental in efforts to draw connections between poor energy policy and the disproportionate effect that such policy has on minority communities. In 2003, House Republicans blocked an amendment that I offered to their Energy bill that would have required the Department of Energy to consider issues of environmental justice when developing, implementing and enforcing U.S. energy policy. Had my amendment been adopted, it would have been the first time in U.S. history that the Congress would have acknowledged that poor energy policy has an adverse affect on minority communities.
Providing financial incentive for the development of sound, renewable energy sources is also essential. I support allowing a nonrefundable tax credit of 25 percent to the holders of clean energy bonds.
In order to address the excessive fuel prices that create additional financial hardships for the households, I have called for the temporary reduction of the motor fuel excise taxes during periods of high fuel prices and release of oil from our Strategic Oil and Petroleum Reserve.
Finally, fairness in tax laws should also extend to oil and gas companies, especially given the current spikes in energy prices. As oil companies are reporting record highs, American consumers are paying record prices at the pumps. This is unacceptable.
As we work to find innovative responses to increasing energy prices, I am optimistic that responsible energy use and comprehensive energy reform proposals have emerged as priorities of the 110th Congress. The future of America depends on sound energy policy and I am committed to achieving just that.