Today it is clearer than ever that our country needs a comprehensive energy policy that aims to lower gas prices and lessen our dependence on foreign sources of energy. While there are many opinions on the exact strategy our nation should take, I believe the best approach to achieve a comprehensive policy will require members of both parties in Congress to cooperate and compromise.
With this in mind, I have co-authored and voted for several pieces of legislation in Congress that would expand access to new oil and gas supplies that had been off limits due to federal moratoria on exploration in our Outer Continental Shelf and on certain federal lands. Congress allowed the moratoria to expire on October 1, 2008. However, following the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, it is clear that we must ensure that all drilling is done right and with proper oversight. That is why I support efforts to overhaul the Minerals Management Service (MMS), the agency tasked with oversight of our oil, natural gas, and other natural resources. MMS has been responsible for environmental and leasing oversight of natural resource industries like the oil industry as well as collecting revenue from these industries, and a reorganization of MMS separating these two conflicting duties is now underway.
Furthermore, because we cannot simply drill our way to energy independence, we must invest in alternative and renewable energy sources, such as biofuels, solar, wind, and hydroelectric sources. In the 111th Congress, I was an original cosponsor of H.R. 2227, The American Conservation and Clean Energy Independence Act, which would invest in alternative energy, provide tax incentives for clean energy production, and modernize the fuel mix in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. I also cosponsored H.R. 4940, The Renewable Fuels Reinvestment Act, which would extend the ethanol tax credit through 2015, benefiting Hoosier farmers and ethanol producers while also helping our country become less dependent on foreign energy sources. The 111th Congress adjourned before taking action on these bills.
While I believe that climate change is real and should be addressed as part of a comprehensive reform of our nation's energy policy, I do not believe an approach that asks Indiana's economy to bear unduly high costs to cut our nation's carbon emissions is the right way to go. That is why I voted against The American Clean Energy and Security Act in June 2009. Indiana gets 94 percent of its electricity from coal, and we have the most manufacturing-intensive sate in the country. This legislation has too many uncertainties in terms of the effect it would have on Hoosier manufacturers, other businesses, and the folks they employ. As a result, Indiana would have the farthest to go in order to meet the bill's carbon reduction goals, and we would be the most vulnerable to price increases, putting Hoosiers at a competitive disadvantage.
There are no easy answers to our climate change or energy supply challenges. However, I will continue to work hard to establish strong and responsible energy and climate change policies that bring much-needed price relief to hard-working Hoosiers, while also reducing our reliance on foreign sources of oil.