Senate Democrats

Ten Reasons to Support the Democratic Energy Bill

The Bush-Cheney energy policy has delivered higher energy prices for the American people, record profits for the major oil companies, and increased energy dependence on the Middle East.  The Senate’s consideration of H.R.6, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 provides the opportunity to give the American people a new and better energy policy that will improve our national security, grow our economy, and protect our environment.

1.      Promotes our energy independence.  Today, the United States consumes 21 million barrels of oil per day and imports 60 percent of that oil from overseas.  During the Bush-Cheney Administration, America’s use of oil has increased by more than one million barrels per day and our dependence on oil from overseas has grown by five percent.  H.R.6 will begin to reverse America’s dependence on oil by enacting a host of measures that in sum will save more than 2 million barrels of oil per day in 2020.

2.      Averts the emission of greenhouse gases.  Our national and environmental security are at risk due to global warming.  The Bush-Cheney Administration has failed to provide global leadership on climate change and since 2001 emissions of greenhouse gases in the United States have increased by 200 million metric tons.  H.R.6 will enact a number of measures that together will help reduce the emission of 238 million metric tons greenhouse gases annually by 2020.

3.      Improves fuel economy standards for cars, trucks, and SUVs.  Since 1975, Congress has not mandated an increase in fuel economy standards for passenger cars.  H.R.6 will require the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to annually increase the average fleet fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks to 35 miles per gallon by 2020.  The new fuel economy standards are estimated to save 1.1 million barrels of oil per day, remove 192 million metric tons of greenhouse gases from the air annually, and save American consumers more than $22 billion each year by 2020.  Additionally, for the years 2021-2030, car and light truck fuel economy standards will increase at the maximum feasible rate.  These increases will help to ensure that America continues to benefit from improved fuel economy standards.

4.      Makes historic investments in biofuels.  The development and expansion of biofuels can help address America’s long-term energy and national security challenges.  The increased production of ethanol will also simultaneously help to create high paying jobs, predominantly in rural America.  H.R.6 will expand the renewable fuels standard to nine billions gallons in 2008 and progressively increase it to a 36 billion gallon requirement by 2022.  Additionally, H.R.6 makes a historic commitment to the development of cellulosic ethanol by requiring that the United States produce 21 billion gallons of advanced biofuels, like cellulosic ethanol by 2022.

5.      Enacts the most important energy efficiency increases in American history.  Conservation and efficiency measures provide some of the most practical and cost efficient ways to promote our national independence and lower energy prices for consumers.  H.R.6 will provide the most important energy efficiency increases in American history by enacting national efficiency standards for light bulbs.  By approximately 2015, the new lighting standards alone are expected to save 65 billion kilowatt hours of electricity savings.  That is the equivalent to the output of about 24 new coal power plants at 500 megawatts each.  In comparison, the new lighting standard is expected to produce savings nearly as large as the combined savings from all federal appliance standards adopted between 1987 and 2000.  In the near-term, consumer savings from the new lighting standard are expected to save American consumers $6 billion per year and reduce carbon emissions by approximately 13 million metric tons per year.

6.      Spurs the growth of solar, wind, biomass and geothermal energy.  The promotion and development of renewable energy resources like solar, wind, and geothermal energy has the opportunity to not only reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases but also expand the economy and create high-paying jobs across the country.  H.R.6 takes the important step of promoting the growth of solar, wind, and geothermal energy by mandating that most utilities produce 15 percent of their power wind, solar, and geothermal energy by 2020.  The new renewable portfolio standard will reduce carbon emissions from power plants by 126 million metric tons, reduce American consumers electricity and natural gas bills between $13 and $18 billion by 2020, and increase our nation’s use of renewable electricity by 91,000 megawatts by 2020.

7.      Supports the expansion of green jobsH.R.6 will give our nation’s economy the incentives it needs to help stimulate the creation of green jobs in every corner of the country.  A major national investment in renewable energy could create three million “green collar” jobs.  For every megawatt of solar photovoltaic electricity produced, about 22 jobs are created.  Geothermal energy creates 10.5 jobs per megawatt, and wind energy creates 6.4 jobs per megawatt. 

8.      Promotes advanced vehicle technologies.  The next generation of vehicles, like plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, have the ability to transform America’s transportation sector.  H.R.6 provides the tools necessary to sharpen our competitive edge by providing America’s auto manufacturers and suppliers the incentives needed to bring advanced vehicle technologies into the commercial mainstream.  For instance, a plug in hybrid electric vehicle can travel more than 100 miles per gallon which simultaneously reduces America’s reliance on oil and protects the environment.

9.      Invests in carbon capture technology.  As the challenge of climate change becomes more acute, develop new clean technologies.  H.R.6 invests in the technologies needed to capture a large portion of carbon dioxide emissions before they are released into the atmosphere.  The development of carbon capture technology, in conjunction with the regulation of carbon dioxide emissions, has the promise of making significant difference in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

10.    Repeals taxpayer subsidies for big oil.  Under the Bush-Cheney energy policy, big oil companies earned approximately $500 billion in profits.  H.R.6 would repeal tax breaks for big oil companies that the companies have admitted are unnecessary.  H.R.6 will reinvest those tax breaks into tax incentives that will protect our environment, create jobs, and strengthen our national security. 

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