HALL SIGNS DISCHARGE PETITION IN SUPPORT OF NEW REFINERIES ON CLOSED MILITARY BASES
Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX/4) signed a second discharge petition along with the Republican Caucus to bring legislation to the Floor to increase refinery capacity and reduce the high cost of gasoline for Americans. Hall signed the discharge petition in support of H.R. 2249, a bill to expedite the construction of new refining capacity on closed military installations. Hall is a cosponsor of the legislation.
"This is a great thrust that I have supported since the last round of closures by BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure Commission) in 2005," Hall said. "For example, the closed Lone Star Army Ammunition facility in Texarkana would be an ideal location for a new, environmentally friendly, state-of-the-art refinery - but we need streamlining at the Federal level to help attract investors."
H.R. 2249 requires the President, no later than 90 days after enactment of this law, to designate not less than three closed military installations or portions thereof that are appropriate for siting a refinery for gasoline or other fuel. An analysis of refinery sites would include the availability of crude supplies to the site, distribution, proximity to pipeline infrastructure, geographical location, impact on price and supply of gasoline to consumers, impact on the operations of the Armed Forces, and other considerations. The local Redevelopment Authority would be involved in the feasibility studies and the final recommendations.
The Department of Energy would take the lead in coordinating federal refinery authorizations and related environmental reviews. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia would have exclusive jurisdiction over civil actions related to federal refinery authorizations.
Hall held a series of meetings in the last Congress with Texarkana officials, Congressional representatives in the Ark-La-TX area, and energy experts in Washington to discuss the feasibility of attracting a refinery to Texarkana. The conclusion was that the permitting process was overly burdensome and that it would be difficult to attract investors without new legislation streamlining Federal regulations and guaranteeing a timeframe for approval or rejection of a permitting request. Passage of a bill designating closed military bases for new refining capacity would significantly improve Texarkana's chances as well.
"New refineries would increase supplies of refined product and help drive down the price of gasoline - and it would be even better if one of those refineries could be built in Texarkana and bring jobs to this area," Hall said. "We need to jumpstart energy production in the U.S. and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. This bill would be a good place to start."