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Creating Long-Term Energy Alternatives for the Nation Act of 2007

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC



Ms. CANTWELL. Mr. President, I rise to speak against this amendment. I have been listening to the debate. While I think it is very important we move forward in our country on a new energy policy and new direction, I think we must do so in a safe, responsible way. That is, whatever we are doing, we need to keep our environmental laws and processes in place: the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Safe Water Act, the Conservation Resource and Recovery Act--all the things that are very important to our country and to our environment.

I think we are hearing a lot about refinery and refinery capacity. It reminds me of the electricity crisis we had in the West, starting in 2000-2001, when everybody blamed it on the fact the environmental laws stopped the ability to produce supply. When all was said and done, we found out it wasn't that; in fact, it was actually the manipulation of supply. So I think it is very important we move forward on new refinery capacity. In fact, in the last several years, there have been almost 140, either built or in the process of being built, new ethanol refineries. So they have had no trouble moving ahead, planning new economic development, job creation, and alternative fuel that is going to help deliver competition at the pump for fossil fuel.

In my State, a new biodiesel facility was undertaken and has been in the development stages. I think they will actually be producing and exporting that product sometime this year. They are going to produce 100 million gallons of biodiesel in this next year--20 years, 12 months. That is more capacity of biodiesel than was produced in the whole United States from a variety of sources.

This is a very aggressive effort of building alternative fuel refineries. Let's be honest, God only gave the United States 3 percent of the world's oil reserves, so the notion that somehow we are going to drill our way with fossil fuel to get off this foreign oil addiction is not going to happen. But we do not have to throw out our environmental laws to produce alternative fuel. We are in the process of doing alternative fuel.

If someone wants to meet all the environmental standards and build a new fossil fuel refinery, I am not opposed to that, but I want people to be aware that this is what is at the heart of this amendment, to throw out these environmental values that everybody else in America wants to live by if they want to have economic development. Why should the oil industry receive this particular privilege of waiving environmental statutes, just to have that benefit?

Let's keep in mind that alternative fuels are making those commitments, meeting those environmental standards, and have produced 140--either underway today or in the process, through the permit process--to develop 140 new alternative fuel refineries. That is progress in America and we should keep going. But we do not need this amendment to do that.

I ask unanimous consent that there be 6 minutes equally divided for debate, with Senator Inhofe controlling the final 3 minutes.

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