Senate Democrats

DEMOCRATS CALL FOR COMPREHENSIVE ENERGY REFORM

Washington, DC–41Senate Democrats today sent the following letter to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, urging him to put aside divisive partisan issues in favor of accomplishing real and substantial energy reform in the 109th Congress. With gas prices rising to near-record levels, Democrats believe the Senate has a responsibility to adopt fiscally responsible policies that will break America’s dangerous addiction to oil, protect consumers from price gouging and market manipulation, invest in alternative sources of energy, and confront the problem of global climate change.

Democrats have offered the Clean EDGE Act, comprehensive legislation to put America on the path to energy independence, and have cosponsored numerous bipartisan legislative solutions to address the energy crisis. With the price of gas increasing and the time remaining for the 109th Congress to address the problem rapidly decreasing, Democrats believe it is time the Senate put aside partisanship and work to help all Americans.

The text of the letter is below.

July 20, 2006

The Honorable William H. Frist

Majority Leader

United States Senate

Washington, D.C.  20510

Dear Majority Leader Frist:

Energy prices continue to be of great concern to Americans — record fuel prices and growing supply volatility and unreliability are hurting consumers and the economy.  Substantial and comprehensive changes to the nation’s energy policy continue to be needed to improve our national security, promote economic growth, and protect consumers and the environment. 

As you may be aware, approximately 100 energy-related bills and amendments have been introduced in the Senate since passage of last year’s energy bill, by Senators of both parties.  These include a number of significant proposals to improve the nation’s energy policy that have been sponsored by numerous members of our caucus (for example, S.2829, the Clean EDGE Act of 2006), as well as a number of groundbreaking bipartisan proposals (for example, S.2025, the Vehicles and Fuels Choices for American Security Act, S.2747, the Enhanced Energy Security Act of 2006, or S.2677, the Securing America’s Energy Independence Act).  As many of us noted in a letter to the President on May 17, 2006, we are eager to work to increase America’s energy security and independence.

The Senate can still accomplish significant energy policy changes this year, if it avoids getting bogged down in lengthy, unproductive debates on divisive issues, such as rolling back the environmental standards that protect the air we breathe and the water we drink.  We believe this effort should begin with a set of core principles that can help America achieve forward-looking energy goals, and that can be embraced by Senators in both parties.  We think that the following points summarize those core principles, and we stand ready to work with you to pass legislation that would reflect these principles:

  • The Senate should take as its starting point the setting of a firm and actionable national goal to reduce our overall national dependence on petroleum, coupled with a serious strategy for achieving this goal.  We believe that the President correctly observed last January that “America is addicted to oil,” and that we need to work both to diversify our supplies of liquid fuels as well as to promote strong efficiency gains in our uses of petroleum, across the U.S. economy.  Our suggested goal would be to reduce our dependence on petroleum by an amount equivalent to 40 percent of our projected level of imports by 2020. 

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