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Senate passes energy bill

Bill doesn’t pass Enzi’s standards

December 13, 2007

Washington, D.C. - The U.S. Senate voted in favor of an energy bill put forth by Democrats that includes strict mandates and more regulation that will increase prices at the pump for motorists, according to U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., who voted against the bill.

"There are some provisions in this bill that I support. However, at the end of the day, increasing mandates is not the way to increase energy production and decrease energy prices," said Enzi. "A true energy bill for this country should include investment in coal-to-liquid technology, incentives to develop clean coal for electricity generation, increase domestic energy production and increase refinery capacity. This so called energy bill does none of that. For Wyoming and the rest of the country this bill is anti-energy and glaringly omits the steps we need to take to pry free of the grip of foreign oil."

Enzi said coal to liquids technologies are not new. The technology has been around since the 1940s and there is no question that it can be used today in currently existing transportation markets. It can be transported in pipelines that currently exist. And, because it comes from coal – our nation’s most abundant energy source – it can be produced at home by American workers.

"Wyoming has been doing its part to get traction for coal-to-liquids facilities in the state but with such a high initial expense the state needs the support of the federal government. This energy bill doesn’t back Wyoming efforts, but instead turns its back on this promising technology," said Enzi.

Enzi is also disappointed that the legislation does not focus or even address the need to advance coal technologies to be used for electricity generation.

"Electricity doesn’t grow on trees, but it can come from the ground. Wyoming is rich with coal and is part of the answer to our nation’s energy needs. Nearly 52 percent of our nation’s electricity comes from coal and much of that comes from Wyoming coal but our coal can and should be used for more electricity generation," said Enzi.

Enzi said it is a matter of national security to increase domestic production of oil so the U.S. does not rely as much on foreign sources of oil.

"Before we start importing more gas and further increasing our dependence on foreign countries, we need to maximize our technological and regulatory efficiency. Right now we’re not utilizing the abundance of energy in Wyoming and other domestic sources as efficiently and effectively as we can," said Enzi. "We can’t talk about increasing our domestic supply of energy without talking about refinery capacity. No new refinery has been built in this country since 1976. The refinery capacity is busting at the seams and the Senate needs to step in and tailor policy that will increase the amount of oil we can refine within our borders. Permits for increased refinery capacity need to be streamlined."

Renewable energy is important in the future of energy development in our country but Enzi said relying completely on renewable energy won’t happen overnight.

"I support expanding our energy portfolio to include more renewable and alternative energy and I support development of technology to make traditional fuels cleaner," said Enzi. "That is not going to change overnight and in the meantime, during the transition to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, we should produce domestic energy as environmentally conscious as possible."

The energy bill, H.R. 6, will now be sent to the House of Representatives. If the House passes it, the bill will be sent to the President for his signature.