The American Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454) purports to make our nation more energy independent and deter the impact of global warming. Proponents of H.R. 2454 tout its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions incrementally through 2050. In addition, they tout stronger efficiency goals in new and existing buildings, including instructing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to increase energy productivity by 2.5 percent per year from 2012 to 2030. Further, the measure would require that energy production meet phased percentages of savings by utilizing renewable resources and electricity savings. H.R. 2454 also places the Department of Agriculture (USDA), instead of the EPA, in charge of projects to reduce emissions in rural areas.
I opposed H.R. 2454 due to the broad ramifications it could have upon our economy. For example, the clean energy title omits certain renewable resources, such as nuclear power, when creating a renewable electricity standard. In my opinion, this provision is unworkable because it takes a one-size fits all approach as opposed to permitting a variety of alternatives to reflect different regions of the country.
Another item that caused me concern was the proposed cap and trade program created by H.R. 2454. Specifically, the proposal would impose controls on emissions of greenhouse gases. This would affect all users, including industry, agriculture and residential consumers. Many, including myself, have questioned the financial ramifications of this requirement on the overall economy and individual ratepayers.
I believe it is important that we enact balanced policies to address climate change, but felt H.R. 2454 does not achieve this goal. In addition, it is my firm belief that in any effort to combat climate change, we should ensure that other countries do their part to combat global warming and promote energy alternatives. I understand that the United States must be a leader in this arena, but not at the expense of our economic well-being.
Within this context, it is also important to discuss efforts to expand our nation's supply of oil and natural gas. I have consistently supported efforts to expand access to our nation's oil and gas reserves, especially in light of constantly fluctuating gas prices. Unfortunately, there is no short-term solution to this problem, as oil development and infrastructure, and even alternatives, do not occur overnight and are costly to implement. As consumers, we must either reduce our dependence on oil or increase supply.
Many are unaware that almost 50% of the crude oil we import is generated from the Western Hemisphere. In fact, our largest trading partners for oil and natural gas are Canada and Mexico. It is my strong belief that similar untapped opportunities exist within our borders, and we should utilize them to their maximum extent. Furthermore, it is my belief that this effort can be achieved in an environmentally-sound manner.
Unfortunately, there is no clear cut solution to the price of gas, but I remain cognizant of the impact this has upon consumers. In addition, I believe we must continue to encourage investment in infrastructure, which promotes mass-transit options such as rail and bus. Finally, we must also continue to promote and expand oil and gas alternatives.