Montana's Congressman, Denny Rehberg, today announced the introduction of H.R. 909, "A Roadmap for America's Energy Future". As energy prices spiral out of control, the average price of a gallon of gas in Montana is more than three dollars. Rehberg has long advocated for a comprehensive energy policy that would make America less reliant on foreign sources of energy.
"With Montana families struggling to get by on fixed budgets, higher gas prices don't just mean paying more at the pump," said Rehberg, a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water. "It means they have less to pay at the grocery store and everywhere else in their lives. That undermines our economic recovery and costs jobs. Sending more of our scarce dollars overseas for energy we could be developing right here in Montana -- and creating good energy jobs to boot -- just doesn't make any sense."
H.R. 909 would create American jobs and reduce our reliance on foreign oil by expanding domestic energy production, including nuclear power, and deploying renewable electricity in a market-based and budget neutral way. It would also increase domestic production of traditional energy on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), the Arctic Coastal Plain, and in Oil Shale regions like the Bakken Formation in Northeastern Montana.
The Energy Roadmap encourages the development of America's alternative fuels by repealing the "Section 526" prohibition on government purchasing fuels derived from sources such as oil shale, tar sands and coal-to-liquid technology. It also encourages the use of clean coal-to-liquid technology by allowing the Department of Defense to plan, construct and operate a coal-to-liquid facility to ensure a secure domestic supply of fuel for the United States military.
A portion of the revenues generated from this development would be fed directly back onto a national energy effort to create a trust fund designed specifically for the development of alternative energy technologies. By establishing a reverse auction for renewable energy in which projects bid for federal assistance on a per megawatt basis -- the lowest bid wins -- irrespective of the technology, the trust fund would let the market choose winners and losers instead of unelected Washington bureaucrats.
Finally, the Energy Roadmap mandates the permitting of 200 new nuclear reactors over the next 30 years to strengthen America's commitment to clean, reliable energy.
"This bill would be a huge benefit to the state of Montana and the nation to reduce our reliance on foreign oil and create jobs," said William Duffield, the Executive Director of the Montana Association of Oil, Gas and Coal Counties. "Not only would it let us move forward to utilize our vast coal, gas and oil potential but also the huge potential for jobs in the energy industry. A single coal-to-liquid plant could create hundreds of jobs. There are job opportunities in every facet of domestic energy development. We appreciate Congressman Rehberg's leadership and will do everything we can to help him get this legislation or something like it through Congress."