Washington, DC—Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made the following remarks today on the floor of the U.S. Senate:
“Last night the Senate took a giant leap forward. With strong bipartisan support, we passed an energy bill that will grow our economy, strengthen our national security and protect our environment. If passed into law, this bill will put us on a path toward reducing our reliance on oil by increasing supply of renewable fuels produced right here at home – and decreasing the amount of energy we use in our cars, homes and offices.
“For the first time since 1975, our bill raises standards for new cars and trucks from 25 to 35 miles per gallon by 2020. That still puts us behind Europe, Japan and China, but it is a critical step in the right direction that will save us up to 1 billion gallons of gasoline every day. For the automakers that still waver on increasing fuel efficiency, I say this: Don’t fight this change, embrace it. Embrace this opportunity to build the high-performance, high-efficiency cars and trucks that Americans want to buy and drive – which we so desperately need for the sake of our national security and global warming. It’s time for American auto manufacturers to lead the world once again, and that will only come through a commitment to clean innovation.
“The next part of our bill reduces crude oil consumption by more than 10 percent over the next 15 years by producing more renewable fuels right here on American farms, fields and in our forests – which will create tens of thousands of new American jobs.
“We set new energy efficiency standards for lighting, appliances and water use, which will save half a trillion gallons of water every year. Because government should lead by example, we also dramatically improve the energy efficiency of federal buildings and vehicles, which will save billions of American taxpayer dollars.
“We put the common good over corporate greed by protecting consumers from price gouging and supply manipulation. And we invest in the technologies that will drive our energy future, like carbon capture and storage – which holds the hope of containing carbon emissions from existing power sources before they ever reach the air.
“Last night’s passage of the energy bill was a great victory for the American people, and here is why. It will:
- save American consumers tens of billions of dollars annually;
- cut our oil consumption by 7 million barrels a day within 20 years;
- reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources right away; and
- take critical steps in these early stages of our fight against global warming.
“There is a long way to go to secure the kind of clean and safe energy future we need. This bill is just a first step, but it is a very important one. Chairmen Bingaman, Inouye, Boxer and the ranking member of the Commerce Committee, Senator Stevens, deserve tremendous praise for their hard work and determination.
“The bill is not perfect. It is unfortunate that in passing this bill the Administration and most Senate Republicans blocked an effort to require more of our nation’s electricity to come from renewable sources as well as incentives to spur the production of more renewable fuels right here in America. And this fight is not over. I hope our friends in the House of Representatives will pass their bill quickly so that we can send it to the President for his signature. But this bill once again shows us that when we find common ground, we can accomplish uncommon good.”