As we face grave threats to our national security and environment, our country must pursue a more balanced energy policy that will promote conservation and maximize our domestic resources, including clean and renewable sources of energy. Given our growing demand, we cannot simply drill our way out of our energy problems.
That is why I support increased investment in the development and production of domestic and renewable fuels, such as ethanol and biodiesel, which can help reduce our dependence on foreign oil. I have supported legislation to create a Strategic Energy Efficiency and Renewables Reserve to invest in alternative energy. In addition, I am cosponsoring a bill directing the EPA to conduct research to determine how biofuels and ultra low sulphur diesel can be made more compatible with existing systems for storing and delivering petroleum-based fuels.
In the long term, our country needs to remain a global leader in technological innovation and provide incentives to convert the best technologies for commercial use. In laboratories all across our nation, some of the world's best minds are devoted to revolutionizing energy as we know it. Unfortunately, there has been little incentive for private and public research programs to convert these new technologies for commercial use. But we are beginning to change that, and recently, the Department of Energy awarded $385 million in federal funding for cellulosic ethanol plants. Though we are beginning to make progress, we are far from satisfied. Now is the crucial juncture at which we must capitalize on our successes and build momentum toward true energy independence.