June 20, 2007 - STATEMENT - Markey Welcomes Re-Drafted Energy Bills, Looks To Future Debate

*full opening statement delivered by Rep. Markey below

WASHINGTON, DC -- Representative Edward J. Markey (D-MA), chairman of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming and a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce committee, today welcomed recently re-drafted energy proposals during the House Energy and Air Quality Subcommittee mark-up.
“Today, we are taking action on better legislation than I expected just two days ago. I welcome the decision by the chairman to drop several provisions from the original discussion drafts which would have taken our nation in the wrong direction, away from our goals of energy independence and combating global warming,” said Rep. Markey.

“The bills we are acting on today are an important starting point for this summer’s energy debate. In order to fully address America’s growing dependency on imported sources of oil and our need to jump-start the technologies of the Green power revolution, we will need to add strong fuel economy standards for cars and SUVs, adopt a Renewable Energy Standard that will mandate that utilities get an increasing percentage of their power from clean, sustainable, renewable generation sources and jump start the production of cellulosic ethanol and other advanced biofuels with improvements to the Renewable Fuels Standard.”

The provisions that were dropped from the bill were opposed by 14 state Attorneys General, 12 Democratic members of the Energy and Air Quality subcommittee, eight Governors, and the Speaker of the House. They would have:

• Overturned the Supreme Court’s decision on Massachusetts vs. EPA regarding regulation of tailpipe CO2 emissions from motor vehicles;
• Pre-empted California from adopting stronger standards, thereby blocking other states from adopting the California standard.
• Put in place weak fuel economy standards for cars and trucks that were insufficient to meet the challenge our nation faces from its increasing dependence on imported oil from the Middle East; and
• Increased emissions of carbon dioxide pollutants by promoting coal-to-liquids fuels.

The legislation being marked up by the subcommittee today includes Rep. Markey’s bill, H.R. 2528, the “Federal Building Renewal and Energy Savings Act,” as Sections 148 and 186 of the energy efficiency print. These two sections will spur federal agencies to take all cost-effective measures to make large federal buildings more energy-efficient.

Rep. Markey concluded, “I strongly support several of the provisions before us today, especially those aimed at strengthening and expanding appliance and building efficiency standards, and reforming DOE’s management of these programs. As we move forward with this debate, I plan to offer an amendment to strengthen the fuel economy standards of our cars and SUVs. I have confidence that this Congress can, and will, lead our nation toward an energy independent future.”

Rep. Markey's full opening statement:


Statement of Representative Edward J. Markey (D-MA)
House Energy and Air Quality Subcommittee
Markup of Energy Legislation
Wednesday, June 19, 2007

Mr. Chairman, thank you for calling today’s markup.

Let me begin by thanking you for all the hard work that you and the Chairman of the Full Committee, Mr. Dingell, have put into this entire process, and all the other members as well. And, let me say that I welcome your decision to drop several provisions from the original Discussion Drafts that would have taken our nation in the wrong direction, away from our goals of energy independence and combating global warming.

In contrast, the Committee Prints before us today contain several provisions that I strongly support. These include provisions aimed at strengthening and expanding appliance and building efficiency standards, and reforming DOE’s management of these programs.

But although there are many good provisions in the Committee Prints before us today, there is also something missing. We are taking up a bill that consists largely of low-hanging fruit, when we should be aiming much higher. We have not yet addressed the challenge posed by America’s growing dependency on imported sources of oil and our need to jump-start the technologies of the Green power revolution. In order to address both challenges, we need to do three things.

• First, we need to add strong fuel economy standards for cars and SUVs. This Congress has an historic opportunity to finally increase the fuel economy of our cars and light trucks, and I will continue my efforts to enact such legislation.
• Second, we need to adopt a Renewable Energy Standard that will mandate that utilities get an increasing percentage of their power from clean, sustainable, renewable generation sources such as wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal energy. The European Union has adopted a standard of 20% of their electricity that will come from renewable sources by the year 2020. Before this process is over, we too must select a number and a year so that the goal is clear to the utility industry in our country and to our people as to what the objective for our country is.
• Third, we need to jump start the production of cellulosic ethanol and other advanced biofuels with improvements to the Renewable Fuels Standard and other policy tools to help create the next generation of sustainable renewable fuels. We must back out of the Middle East by going not only to the Middle West and their farmers, but to farmers all across America that have the capacity to develop these renewable fuels that can substitute for the oil that we now put into the gas tanks of America.

In 2006, we imported 60% of our oil, in 1986 we imported 27% of our oil. In a twenty year period we went from 27% imported oil to 60% imported oil. That number goes up one and a half percent every single year on average. Unless we reverse that trend we arte going to get deeper and deeper into the politics of the Middle East, and other countries and around the world that we should be walking away from, rather than, in fact, becoming more dependent upon.

President Bush held the hand of a Saudi prince and took into his home in Crawford, Texas just two years ago, and asked the Saudi prince to please, please produce more oil for our country to import. That is the wrong signal to send. President Kennedy, when challenged by the Soviet Union, did not hold the hand of Nikita Khrushchev. Instead, he said to the Soviets, the United States will control the skies technologically, we will put a man on the moon in eight years. And we did it. That must be the signal that we send with this legislation.

The Republicans had an opportunity in their bill in the first six years of this decade. They did not meet that challenge. In fact, they excluded anything that would in fact improve dramatically the technological capacity of our country.

This is the time for us to meet that challenge. This is the time for progress. Together, this Congress can, and will, make it possible for our country to move to a new energy independent future.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 20, 2007

CONTACT: Jessica Schafer
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