Democratic Leader Harry Reid released the following statement:
“If the President is serious about reducing the cost of gasoline then he would support a dramatic increase in the use of biodiesel and ethanol in gasoline as part of the energy bill. Consumers are facing record gas prices at the pump, while oil companies are reporting record profits. Oil companies are not expanding their purchases of lower-priced biodiesel and ethanol and are continuing to purchase expensive crude oil and raise gasoline prices. The President should immediately call on oil companies and refiners to use more domestically produced biodiesel and ethanol.
“The President’s energy plan is a bad deal for American consumers and will do nothing to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, reduce our consumption or increase production here at home. We should continue to work together to find bipartisan solutions to reducing our dependence on foreign oil and firmly place us on the path towards energy independence.”
THE DEMOCRATIC COMMITMENT TO ENERGY INDEPENDENCE
As the energy debate comes to the Senate, Democrats remain fully committed to working to pass an energy bill that willreduce our dependence on foreign oil and provide relief to American families who have continued to struggle under skyrocketing prices. These principles will guide Democrats as the issue is debated.
Renewable Electricity Standard: Numerous studies have demonstrated that a national standard would save consumers money on their energy bill, create jobs and help clear our air. We urge you to include a strong renewable electricity standard which would require 10 percent of our electricity to come from geothermal, solar, wind and biomass by 2030.
Oil Savings: To make our nation more secure and move us towards energy independence requires that we take rapid but reasonable steps to reduce our consumption of oil. We urge you to include a provision to reduce oil consumption by at least 1.75 million barrels of oil per day or greater by 2015.
Electricity Reliability: The Senate bill should require mandatory and enforceable electricity reliability standards and ban on Enron-type market manipulation.
Energy Efficiency: The bill and conference report should include strong energy efficiency standards for the residential and commercial building sector and the industrial sector, require appliance standards, expand the Energy Star program, and reauthorize the federal government building efficiency program. Energy efficiency is the quickest, cheapest and cleanest way to meet our energy demand.
Biofuels: The bill and conference report should require a significant increase in home-grown biofuels, such as ethanol and biodiesel. We can reduce our use of gasoline, create a new domestic industry with thousands of jobs, and gain secure supplies of fuel.
Climate Change: The Senate bill and conference report should require a comprehensive climate change title that put our nation on a path to stabilize and eventually reduce greenhouse gas emissions to fight the problem of global warming.
Tax Incentives: The Senate bill and conference report should include an appropriate, equitable, and diversified mixture of at least $16 billion in targeted energy tax incentives (including a production tax credit for geothermal, solar, wind, and biomass) over the next ten years, with offsets so that this can be done in a fiscally sound way.
Protect the Environment: Neither the bill and the conference report should not include any type of liability waiver for methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) producers; allow for oil and natural gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; or detrimental changes to the Clean Air Act and other environmental laws.