January 8, 2007
Floor Statement of Sen. Jeff Bingaman
National Energy and Environmental Security Act of 2007
“Mr. President, I'm pleased to cosponsor S. 6, the National Energy and Environment Security Act of 2007. This is a message bill that Sen. Reid introduced earlier today. It lays out a number of important goals that will guide our thinking and our action on energy-related matters, including the issue of global warming, in the 110th Congress.
“Let me talk briefly about five key goals that are mentioned in the bill. These goals will be subject to much more detailed discussion in future weeks and action both in the Energy Committee and in the Environment Committee as well.
“The first goal in the bill is to reduce our dependence on foreign and unsustainable energy sources. Any national energy strategy to reduce that dependence will have to maintain our domestic production of oil and gas as well as undertake three basic initiatives. The first of those initiatives is to greatly increase the efficiency of the cars and trucks that we put on the road in this country. There are a lot of ideas on how to do this. They include several proposals for increased cafe standards as well as the so-called feebate proposals that encourage the production and sale of high-efficiency vehicles. I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to try to move these proposals forward.
“Another way to reduce our dependence is to further develop alternative fuels and particularly biofuels. In that regard, we need to focus on broadening the base of biological feedstocks that are used to make fuels such as ethanol. This is an issue we'll be focusing on in the Energy Committee.
“A third way is to look at the other new technologies for our cars and our trucks. There is much promise in hybrid vehicles, with larger batteries that can be charged overnight -- so-called plug-in hybrids. This sort of technology can help reduce the demand for gasoline.
“The second goal in the bill is to reduce our exposure to the risks of global warming. There are several Senate committees with interest in this issue. The Environment & Public Works Committee has the primary jurisdiction, but over 95 percent of U.S. carbon monoxide emission and the greenhouse gas emissions come from energy production, distribution and use. We want to work with other committees to find the best way to deal with this important issue.
“The third goal in the bill is to diversify and expand our use of secure, efficient and environmentally friendly energy supplies and technologies. Efficiency is a key element in our energy policy that deserves more attention in this Congress than we have been able to give it before. There are outstanding opportunities to reduce the demands of our future energy system by being more efficient and effective in the ways we distribute and use energy. I will not go into those at this point except to say that this is going to be a major focus of our work in the first few months.
“A fourth goal of the bill is to reduce the burdens on consumers of rising energy prices. We need to make sure that programs such as the low-income home energy assistance program are fully funded and targeted at low-income and working families.
“And the fifth goal in the bill is to eliminate tax giveaways and prevent energy price gouging and manipulation. We're all agreed that those are issues that need attention.
“All of this is a tall order for Congress. I would predict that instead of seeing just one big energy bill, we will be addressing these issues through multiple bills that move through the Senate as issues and proposals for addressing these issues become ripe for action.
“In the Senate we will not make much progress on energy or environment unless we can develop a strong bipartisan approach on the issues. The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources has a strong tradition of bipartisan accomplishment that I plan on continuing in this new Congress. I look forward to working with my colleague, Sen. Pete Domenici, and all members of the committee as we forge an effective path forward to promote our energy and energy-related environmental security.”
Democratic Communications Director
Senate Energy & Natural Resources