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Sierra Club

OCTOBER 18, 2005
11:57 AM

CONTACT:   Sierra Club
Brian O'Malley, 202-675-6279

Proposed Senate Energy Bill Does Nothing To Lower Our Dependence On Oil
Statement by Dave Hamilton, Director, Sierra Club's Global Warming and Energy Program
WASHINGTON "Like the Energy Bill recently passed by the House, the Inhofe Refinery Bill (S.1772) being argued today in the Senate's Environmental and Public Works Committee does not propose real, productive solutions to our current energy problems, and instead offers more handouts to the oil and gas industries. This bill is based upon the false premise that rising gas prices and America's oil dependence can be solved by removing environmental safeguards. The reality is, from 1975 to 2000, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) received only one permit request for a new refinery. Oil refineries are not being built because the industry doesn't want to build them -- not because environmental laws are holding them back.

"This winter, home heating bills are expected to reach record highs, and will create a real hardship for many Americans who are already struggling with high gasoline prices. Rather than offer real solutions to lower energy bills and cut America's dependence on oil, the Republican leadership in Congress is trying to exploit this crisis by preparing legislation that will waive environmental laws for new refineries, open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and our coastlines to oil and gas drilling, and funnel even more taxpayer dollars to the oil industry.

"Congress is again focusing on losing, recycled solutions to solve our energy problems. They have an opportunity to instead lay out a vision for a new energy future that will save consumers money at the gas pump, cut America's oil dependence, and curb the heat-trapping pollution that causes global warming. Congress must significantly increase fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks. Making our cars, SUVs and other light trucks average 40 mpg would save more oil than we currently import from the Persian Gulf or could ever get from the Arctic Refuge. It would also save the average driver $4,000 at the gas pump over the lifetime of the vehicle. In addition, Congress should do the same thing with regard to the 55% of American families that heat their homes with natural gas, and institute aggressive energy efficiency programs for our buildings and industries, as well as a renewable energy standard for electric utilities."


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