Thursday, April 2, 2009

Bipartisan Senators Introduce 'National Energy Security Act'

PRNewswire / -- Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Senator George Voinovich (R-OH), and key members of the Energy Security Leadership Council (ESLC), a project of Securing America's Future Energy (SAFE), unveiled The National Energy Security Act of 2009 Wednesday. The bill presents a comprehensive plan to reduce our nation's dangerous dependence on oil, primarily through the electrification of the short-haul ground transportation fleet.

"For too long, our national security and our economy have been dependent on a global oil market that we cannot control," ESLC Co-Chairmen Frederick W. Smith, Chairman, President, and CEO of FedEx Corporation, and General P.X. Kelley (Ret.), 28th Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, said. "We can no longer remain at the mercy of terrorists, anti-American regimes, or even hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico. Today, we are offering a new way forward. This bill has the potential to finally defeat the energy policy gridlock by offering a bipartisan, achievable, comprehensive solution that will end our dangerous dependence on petroleum and leave a stronger, safer America in its place."

"America's energy security will continue to be at risk until we can move away from our dependence on foreign oil, much of which is located in dangerous regions of the world," Dorgan said. "Breaking this dependence on foreign oil requires a long-term commitment, and now is the time to make the investments that will improve our security and create jobs in the process. This legislation is a road map for our energy future. The problem with reducing our dependence on foreign sources oil is that many have seen where we want to go, but don't know how to get there. This legislation provides a road map, and will strengthen our energy security for generations to come."

"For years I have called for a Second Declaration of Independence from foreign sources of energy," Voinovich said. "Alleviating our reliance on foreign energy sources is a key to strengthening both our national and economic security. Too many of our energy resources come from politically unstable regions of the world, which often support ideologies in opposition to our own national interests. Our economic interests are then affected by this political and military unrest, causing energy costs to rise, hindering our ability to compete in the global marketplace and bringing our national security into question. It is about time we work on a bipartisan basis to solve this crisis."

In September, the ESLC - a distinguished group of business executives and national security leaders led by Smith and General Kelley - released A National Strategy for Energy Security. The National Strategy offered a comprehensive plan to reduce U.S. oil dependence, primarily through electrification of the short-haul ground transportation fleet, along with crucial measures - including expanded domestic production of oil and natural gas - to keep our nation safe and secure in the interim.

The legislation introduced today by Senators Dorgan and Voinovich largely mirrors the policies laid out in the National Strategy. The bill would:

-- Promote the development and production of an electrified
transportation fleet, creating a transportation system that will be
powered by a wide array of mostly domestic fuels instead of one solely
dependent on oil.
-- Support building the crucial infrastructure necessary to power that
fleet, including recharging stations and vital steps needed to create
a robust, reliable national grid.
-- Strengthen transmission, including giving FERC the power to site
transmission lines, to ensure that the grid is sufficiently robust to
meet the growing demand of an electrified transportation system.
-- Promote the expanded development of domestic oil and natural gas by
conducting an inventory of the most promising areas of the Outer
Continental Shelf (OCS), opening new areas of the Gulf of Mexico, and
ensuring the expeditious leasing of certain areas of the OCS for all
forms of energy, while strengthening environmental safeguards.

-- Support low-carbon electricity, including from nuclear and advanced
coal, through loan guarantees.

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