Congressman Bobby L. Rush (D-IL) made the following statement during today's hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Energy and Power. Rush is the ranking Democratic Member of the subcommittee. The topic of the hearing was North American Energy Independence:
Mr. Chairman, we are here today examining the issue of how we may reach North American energy independence within the next decade.
This hearing will give us an opportunity to discuss the many different initiatives that President Obama has put in place to help us come closer to reaching this goal.
Mr. Chairman, unlike the simplistic, Sarah Palin-backed drill, baby, drill Romney-Ryan energy plan, President Obama has put forward a comprehensive energy policy that encompasses concrete proposals to not only make us less reliant on imported oil from overseas, but which also takes into account the serious issue of climate change.
While my Republican colleagues are loathe to even mention the words climate change and have claimed it to be a hoax, I can assure you that the farmers across this country would disagree with this position, as we have seen the worst year of record temperatures, drought, and crop loss in modern U.S. history.
Mr. Chairman, in March 2011, the Obama Administration released an energy plan titled "Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future."
This comprehensive energy proposal would "build a 21st century clean energy economy" by "reducing our dependence on oil, focusing on expanding cleaner sources of electricity," and achieving additional energy efficiency through a combination of an all-of-the-above energy policy.
The Obama strategy strongly promotes the creation of jobs by developing renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, biomass, and hydropower, while also investing in clean coal technology, increasing production of natural gas, and expanding nuclear power.
However, unlike the Romney plan, the Obama energy proposal endorses safe and responsible production of domestic energy sources, which allows input from community members and stakeholders who are directly impacted by oil and gas drilling.
Mr. Chairman, any credible expert would have to give credit to the Obama Administration for the advances they have put in place to put us on track for achieving energy independence, which include increased domestic production, a move towards cleaner and renewable energy sources of the future, as well as additional conservation and energy efficiency measures.
U.S. oil consumption, which peaked in 2005, dropped by more than 1.9 million barrels per day, or about 9%, by 2011.
While some of this recent decline in demand was related to the economic recession, improvements in fuel efficiency, and broader economic trends put forth by the Obama Administration are also responsible for these developments.
For instance, the Obama Administration's vehicle greenhouse gas and fuel economy standards for model years 2012 to 2025 are projected to save more than 2.2 million barrels of oil per day by 2025, and will help us become less reliant on both oil imports and oil in general.
So I look forward to hearing from today's witnesses and I hope that we can have a balanced and honest debate on this issue.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I yield back the balance of my time.