WASHINGTON – "In a victory for clean air and the health of American communities, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee refused to vote out a bill by Committee Chair Sen.Inhofe (R, OK) that would have weakened environmental protections and given subsidies and handouts to the polluting oil industry. The bill was defeated by a 9-9 vote with all the Committee Democrats and Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R. RI) opposing this harmful legislation that attempted to exploit the tragedies of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita by decreasing public involvement and oversight in oil refinery permitting, and limiting the ability of individual states to promote cleaner fuels.
"Instead of focusing on losing issues like giveaways to the oil industry, it is time for Congress to put forward a real energy policy that will lower energy bills and cut America's dependence on oil so we do not repeat the mistakes of the past. The federal government can raise fuel economy standards - the biggest single step we can take to saving money at the gas pump is to make our cars, trucks, and SUVs go farther on a gallon of gas. Making all new vehicles average 40 miles per gallon fleet-wide within ten years would save consumers $4,000 at the gas pump over the lifetime of their vehicle and save the United States more oil than we currently import from the entire Persian Gulf and could ever take out of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, combined.
"Additionally, because oil companies are posting the biggest profits in corporate history as a result of skyrocketing prices, Congress should institute a windfall profit tax on the oil industry to help lower energy costs and fund investments in clean energy technology to make America less dependent on oil and other fossil fuels.
"America needs real energy solutions - not flawed, recycled policies."