Last night Congressman Joe Baca (D-Rialto) joined a bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives in passing H.R. 6899, the Comprehensive American Energy Security and Consumer Protection Act. The bill passed the House with a 236 - 189 vote. This comprehensive energy measure lowers costs to consumers and American taxpayers, invests in renewable energy sources to create American jobs, expands domestic energy supply, and creates greater energy efficiency and conservation.
"Sky-rocketing energy and gas costs have hurt too many families in our Inland communities and across the nation," said Rep. Baca. "These are tough economic times, and Americans deserve real solutions from their government. This compromise legislation is a historic step in promoting a home-grown energy policy that will lower energy costs, and make our country more secure and less dependent on foreign sources of oil."
The Comprehensive American Energy Security and Consumer Protection Act puts America on a path toward energy independence and a green energy future through greater energy efficiency and conservation, and protects consumers through strong action to lower the price at the pump. It also expands domestic production of oil and gas, as well as domestic sources of renewable energy, and finally requires Big Oil to pay back what it owes America's taxpayers.
"This legislation is a clear change from the Bush-McCain-Cheney policies that have led to a greater dependence on foreign oil and spiraling energy costs for consumers," explained Rep. Baca. "I am proud to support this vital compromise legislation, which sides with American taxpayers and consumers, not Big Oil."
Key provisions in H.R. 6899 include:
Repealing of tax subsidies for the Big Five oil companies, and instead investing this money in renewable energy production;
Temporarily releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to bring immediate relief to American consumers at the pump;
Extending and expanding tax incentives for renewable energy, including incentives for plug-in vehicles, renewable electricity, and energy efficient homes and appliances;
Ending the current moratorium on drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf to permit leasing of lands for drilling between 50 and 100 miles offshore if a state opts in by enacting a state law; and,
Allowing Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado to opt in to exploration and production of the federal oil shale reserve if the states enact a law of approval.
H.R. 6899 builds off critical first steps already taken by this 110th Congress. Last year, Congress passed and the President signed legislation with provisions to combat oil market manipulation, increase vehicle fuel efficiency to 35 miles per gallon in 2020 - the first Congressional increase in more than three decades - and promote the use of more affordable American biofuels.
"Since first coming into office, President Bush and his Republican colleagues have crafted energy policies that brought record levels of profit to oil companies, while passing the costs on to the American public," concluded Rep. Baca. "The Democratic Congress is standing up for the American people. By increasing domestic production of energy and investing more in renewable sources, we are fighting for lower energy costs and a cleaner tomorrow for our children and grandchildren to enjoy."