In a recent poll, Americans were resounding in their support for a national energy plan. Two weeks ago, the House voted for the fifth time on an energy package, and we now look to the Senate to do the right thing and finish the job by passing a comprehensive energy bill and working with the House to send President Bush legislation he can sign into law.
In the past month, Americans have seen gasoline prices jump even higher. Passage of a comprehensive energy bill this year will ensure a more affordable and environmentally friendly energy supply. America's prosperity and national security are at stake.
Energy is vital to every sector of the U.S. economy, including homes, small businesses and industries. Energy powers computers, appliances, technology and the Internet and fuels transportation and farming processes. When energy supplies are tight, families and businesses are severely impacted by the resulting increase in energy costs. High energy prices and a deteriorating energy infrastructure have caused home heating bills to skyrocket and forced many U.S. manufacturers to slow production, lay off workers and even go out of business.
This legislation will lower energy prices for consumers, spur our economy and create hundreds of thousands of new jobs, and take unprecedented steps to promote greater energy conservation and efficiency.
The Energy Policy Act will decrease America's dangerous dependence on foreign oil by increasing domestic oil and gas exploration and development on some federal lands.
In addition, this legislation will help meet our nation's energy needs by increasing our nation's electricity transmission capacity. It will also help ensure the increased reliability of our nation's electricity grid in order to help avoid future blackouts.
This legislation would also extend daylight savings time two months to reduce energy consumption by the equivalent of 10,000 barrels of oil each day. Studies indicate that the proposal to adopt daylight savings time from the first Sunday in March to the last Sunday in November will also lower crime and traffic fatalities and allow for more recreation time and increased economic activity.
The Energy Policy Act also encourages new innovations and the use of alternative power sources by launching a state-of-the-art program to enable hydrogen fuel cell cars to compete in the marketplace by 2020. The bill also authorizes $200 million for the "Clean Cities" program, which will provide grants to state and local governments to acquire alternative fueled vehicles.
Another highlight of this bill is the promotion of clean coal technology. It also provides incentives for renewable energies such as biomass, wind, solar and hydroelectricity.
The 109th Congress offers the best chance yet to enact strong energy policy and it is critical that we do so quickly.