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Energy Policy Act of 2005

Location: Washington, DC



Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I rise today in support of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. With its passage, America will begin to declare its independence from foreign sources of energy.

A strong energy policy is crucial to America's economic security and national security. We must become less dependent on foreign sources of energy.

In 1985, 75 percent of the crude oil used in American refineries was domestically produced. Only about 25 percent came from beyond our borders. But today, those proportions have been turned upside down: Only about 35 percent of crude oil used here is produced at home, and 65 percent is imported from foreign countries.

That precarious balance leaves our Nation's energy needs, and even our Nation's economic strength, in the hands of others. America can do better. Four years of debate is enough: I urge this Senate to pass this much-needed energy bill now.

Kentucky has not escaped the ill effects of America's energy needs. Commercial natural gas prices in Kentucky rose by 53 percent from 2000 to 2004. Gasoline prices in the Commonwealth, and throughout the entire Midwest region of the United States, have risen by 86 percent since 2002. The same gallon of gas that cost $1.13 then costs Kentuckians a whopping $2.11 today. America's lack of a strong, focused energy policy has imposed a tax on all Kentucky drivers.

This bill will provide that strong, focused energy policy. It will not make gasoline prices drop overnight. But it includes some simple, smart provisions that will provide cheaper, safer, and more plentiful energy for generations to come.

Passing the Energy Policy Act of 2005 will provide $2.9 billion in incentives for the development of clean coal technology and generation. America contains enough coal to meet our needs for the next 250 years, and Kentucky ranks third among the States in coal production. Coal provides over 50 percent of the electricity in America, and 97 percent of Kentucky's. We must take full advantage of such a cheap, abundant resource while also making sure we protect the environment.

This bill will do that. It provides money to research technologies that will remove nearly all pollutants from coal-fired power plants. We will be able to continue using coal in an environmentally friendly way. That will benefit Kentucky, and America. The bill also includes $1.4 billion in incentives for increased domestic oil and gas production. America hasn't seen a single new oil refinery since 1976. We need to build more now, and we can do so in an environmentally sensitive way.

The bill includes $7.9 billion for the development of alternative fuels. We can unleash the American genius on creating or refining new and better sources of energy for the future, such as hydrogen, ethanol, and biodiesel. One day, automobiles can run on hydrogen instead of gasoline--and instead of exhaust fumes, they would emit pure water. Ethanol, made from corn, can be mixed with gasoline to make a cleaner, more efficient fuel. Increased production of biodiesel would further reduce our dependence on foreign sources of energy.

This bill also provides $278 million for more nuclear power facilities. Nuclear power is produced entirely here in America, and can create vast quantities of electricity. Nations such as France have long since realized the benefits of nuclear power. It is time America did the same. Nuclear power is safe and smart. It should be a major source of America's energy policy in the 21st century.

Passage of this bill will also provide money for increased energy efficiency and conservation, and a renewable fuels standard that will increase our amount of renewable fuel in the fuel supply to 8 billion gallons by 2012.

It is time America stopped outsourcing its energy production. The problems we face are simple to grasp--so simple that it is a wonder that Congress has waited this long to act. We must continue to use our primary source of energy, coal, while being sure to do so using environmentally safe technology. We must increase domestic oil and gas production, also using environmentally safe technology. We must develop cheap, safe, and clean alternative energy sources including nuclear energy. And we must increase energy efficiency and conservation.

American know-how has made us the economic envy of the world. We can lead the way in technologically advanced methods to take great care with our environment, while still meeting our energy needs, as well. This bill will accomplish these goals.

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