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E-M:/ Congress/Energy: Sierra Club Statement On Senate Energy Hearing

Enviro-Mich message from "Anne Woiwode" <Anne.Woiwode@sierraclub.org>

CONTACT: 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

"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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