I believe energy conservation and efficiency can help us to reduce our oil consumption but until alternative energy sources, such as hydrogen, are up and running, we must ensure our policies encourage domestic production of traditional sources as well.
The United States has vast supplies of domestic energy that should be explored. Today the U.S. imports nearly 60% of its oil, and most of it comes from the Middle East and politically unstable nations. I believe that energy exploration in Alaska's Artic National Wildlife Reserve (ANWR) and the Outer Continental Shelf is an important component of comprehensive energy strategy. At the same time, it is important that we find the right balance between exploration and protecting our wilderness and wildlife.
Alternative energy sources will be an important source of power in the future, and the 26th Congressional District of Texas has been a leader in alternative energy - from a company that manufactures solar panels in Keller and another that manufactures wind turbine blades in Gainesville. Biogas created by the City of Denton Landfill powers a biodiesel manufacturing facility. The Lake Dallas Independent School District uses geothermal energy to heat and cool their schools. Peterbilt Motors Company, a leader in creating energy-efficient trucks, is headquartered in Denton.
As a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee I was recently voted against H. R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 often referred to as the cap and trade bill. This measure would cap the yearly amount of carbon emissions produced by burning fossil fuels for the production of electricity, created a study group to investigate carbon capture and sequestration, and would develop a new trading market for government issued carbon emission credits which account for each ton of carbon emitted into the atmosphere. The total allotted number of emission or trade credits would be reduced over a set period of time, forcing high greenhouse gas emitters to reduce emissions or trade for additional credits from other emitters.
A recent report by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) found that this measure would cause wholesale power costs in Texas to rise between $10 billion and $20 billion over the life of the bill. Also the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, Susan Combs, conducted a study jointly with the University of Texas that showed that Texas could see 135,000 to 277,000 fewer jobs in 2012 resulting in a decline in gross state product between $10 to $20 billion and a decrease in disposable income between $7 to $15 billion. I remain seriously concerned that capping carbon and trading carbon credits will hurt American economic growth without providing enough benefit for the expense. I will continue to oppose any additional efforts to pass this legislation should it pass the U.S. Senate and come back the U.S. House of Representatives for a final vote.