Congressman Dave Reichert (WA-08) voted today to move much-needed energy legislation forward. The House passed H.R. 6899, the Comprehensive American Energy Security and Consumer Protection Act. Reichert made the following statement:
"For Congress to listen to the American people and pass energy legislation, it's a step forward. Americans are calling for Congress to take action, and while this bill isn't perfect, we're seeing progress. It includes environmentally-safe drilling, without touching ANWR. It includes increased leasing in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska and facilitates the construction of a natural gas pipeline from Alaska to U.S. markets. This is America using American resources to increase our own American energy independence and I support that. Yet, the most important parts of the bill are the investments in research and development of renewable energies - our energy independent future will come from American ingenuity and innovation. Much of the emphasis in this bill is bridging us to our next generation of energy sources.
"However, this bill is missing some important pieces of the puzzle, including safe nuclear energy and increasing our nation's refinery capacity. I'm also opposed to drawing down the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, because in the interest of national security I believe that our strategic reserves should be used only in the case of national emergency. But I believe in coming to the middle - while not perfect, this is a compromise and I am committed to reaching across the aisle to continue to work together with my colleagues to bring much needed reform to our national energy policy. This is only the beginning - more must be done."
Under the bill, states may opt in for drilling between 50 and 100 miles offshore, while the federal government could permit drilling from 100 to 200 miles offshore.
Reichert recently introduced legislation that would allow advanced biofuels (non-food-based) to replace petroleum in the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The Promoting Real Opportunities for Energy Security Act (PRO Energy Security Act), H.R.6823, would give the Secretary of Energy the authority to acquire advanced biofuels for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) instead of crude oil. This would provide a stable market for advanced biofuels and promote further research and development to bridge to our nation's energy independent future.
Reichert's recent work on energy policy and independence focuses on a multifaceted plan with short-, mid- and long-term solutions to wean the country off of, fossil fuels - in particular, from foreign sources - to cleaner, renewable domestic sources such as plug-in hybrids and by utilizing options available now, such as the promotion of mass transit. In recent weeks, Reichert's legislative action on the energy crisis includes:
· Successfully passing a transportation amendment (June 26, 2008) as part of the Saving Energy Through Public Transportation Act of 2008 (H.R. 6052), that promotes mass transit use by providing additional funds for bus park-and-ride lots to better serve suburban commuters; and,
· Successfully passing an amendment through the Science and Technology Committee (July 16, 2008) that advances the development of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, a critical alternative energy source for the Pacific Northwest.