I believe that our nation's energy plan should strengthen our economy, lower consumer prices, reduce our dependency on foreign oil-producing nations, and protect the environment. Our economy and way of life demands an energy policy that not only meets today's needs but prepares us for future needs.
We need to increase domestic energy production and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Given energy's importance in our lives, the ability to produce it within our borders is critical. Like you, I am troubled by the rising cost of gasoline and other fuels. Prices at the pump have caused a significant strain on individuals' and businesses' finances across the nation. I have spoken with many constituents in recent months about the sacrifices they have made so that they can continue to travel to work, school and the grocery store.
Unfortunately, there are no simple answers to this problem. We will only solve it over a period of years and through several different means. We must expand our domestic supply of energy by opening up the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to drilling for oil and natural gas. We should also build new oil refineries and encourage the development of nuclear energy and renewable energy sources, such as solar power.
Congress needs to be held accountable for not supporting policies that would increase the supply of oil and reduce the price of gas. There are no short-term fixes to this problem, but over the long-term Congress can help reduce the cost of gas at the pump.
Energy independence is critical to protecting the environment. We can achieve energy independence by reducing our consumption of foreign oil, expanding our use of clean, renewable energy, and taking common sense approaches to conserving energy in our homes and cars.
As a member of the House Science Committee, I introduced renewable energy legislation that was included in H.R. 6, the "Energy Independence and Security Act." This legislation, which became law on December 19, 2007, creates incentives for Plug-In Hybrid Electric vehicles, creates a grant program for solar demonstrations and public-private partnerships, expands the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), increases corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards, and requires increased energy efficiency standards for consumer appliances.
I am a cosponsor of H.R. 445, the "Heavy Duty Hybrid Vehicle Research, Development, and Demonstration Act." This legislation establishes a competitive grant program to advance research and development for advanced heavy duty hybrid vehicles. This legislation passed the House on September 9, 2009, and now awaits action in the Senate.