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Kingston, Bipartisan Coalition Urge President to Support Legislation to Reduce America's Dependence on Foreign Oil

Location: Washington, DC

Kingston, Bipartisan Coalition Urge President to Support Legislation to Reduce America's Dependence on Foreign Oil

Washington, Feb 1 -

Today, U.S. Reps. Jack Kingston (R-GA), the vice-chairman of the House Republican Conference, and Eliot Engel (D-NY), joined U.S. Senators Evan Bayh (D-IN), Sam Brownback (R-KS), Norm Coleman (R-MN), Joe Lieberman (D-CT), and Ken Salazar (D-CO), to call on President Bush to follow up on his remarks in last night's State of the Union address by supporting their bipartisan legislation to increase America's energy independence (HR 4409).

Last November, the bipartisan, bicameral coalition introduced the Fuel Choices for American Security Act, which would mandate 2.5 million barrels in oil-savings in 10 years and would also encourage the mass-production of cars that can burn any combination of gasoline and alternative fuels or, alternatively, cars powered by efficient hybrid engines.

In a letter that will be sent to the President today, the members express their support for the President's call for energy independence and urge him to support their bipartisan legislation as the solution to America's dependence on foreign oil.

"I was pleased that the President highlighted America's over-reliance on foreign oil in his State of the Union, and pledged his support to helping America realize its fuel independence," Congressman Kingston said. "The President understands that we will be unable to drill or carpool our way out of the Middle East and must instead, embrace a new fuel strategy which includes speeding entry of 21st Century vehicles to the public, and embracing new, clean fuel choices. We have offered a bipartisan plan in the House and Senate to do just that and look forward to working with the President on this front."

"I am pleased that the President is finally putting forward sound ideas on energy policy and making them a top priority for 2006. United States' energy policy is a matter of National Security, and should transcend party lines and ideology. We cannot cling to partisanship in such matters. Congress already has passed two flawed energy bills since President Bush took office, neither of which speaks to the goals of our bipartisan bill. Now that the President is endorsing our vision of alternative fuels, let us see him and Congress take action on our legislation," said Congressman Engel, founder of the bipartisan Oil and National Security Caucus and a member of the Committee on Energy and Commerce.

In addition to reducing the amount of oil used in America, the bill, which has 41 cosponsors in the House and 12 cosponsors in the Senate, would also:

* Push for the development and mass marketing of hybrid technologies, including hybrids that give drivers the option to plug them in at night;
* Encourage the construction of more alternative fuel pumps at gas stations;
* Include, for the first time, fuel-efficiency standards for trucks;
* Offer standards to ensure fuel efficient replacement tires are offered for cars and trucks;
* Provide tax credits for manufacturers to retool facilities for advanced technology and alternative fuel cars and trucks.

-- Editor's Note: Text of the Letter Attached --

February 1, 2006

Mr. President,

We are writing to you to express our strong support for your call to reduce America's dependence on foreign oil.As you expressed in your State of the Union speech last night, we must continue to expand our research and development efforts into vehicle and fuel technologies that will be available in the near term.By doing this we will help safeguard our national security, improve American competitiveness and protect our environment.

We represent an emerging bi-partisan and bi-cameral consensus on legislative steps we can take this year to address our dependence on fossil fuels.In November, we introduced The Vehicle and Fuel Choices for American Security Act, which is focused on two important concepts.First, we must set visionary and achievable goals for reduced oil consumption and measure progress towards these goals as a national priority.Second, the most effective means to achieve these goals is by providing incentives to encourage manufacturers, distributors and consumers to utilize domestic resources to bring to the market a full range of 21st Century vehicles and fuels based on clean, renewable, non-oil based technologies.Flexible fuel electric hybrid vehicles that take advantage of fuels such as bio-ethanols, methanol, clean bio and coal diesels, and electricity, are here today and can dramatically reduce our oil consumption in the near future.By utilizing the programs authorized in our legislation, we believe that we can achieve crude oil savings of over 2.5 million barrels per day within a decade.

This dedicated bi-partisan group looks forward to your support as we move our legislation forward to bring these ideas into action this year.

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