December 14, 2007

CARDIN HAILS PASSAGE OF LANDMARK ENERGY BILL

Measure promotes efficiency; saves Americans fuel and money

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD) lauded passage by the Senate today of the Renewable Fuels, Consumer Protection, and Energy Efficiency Act of 2007 (H.R. 6) , which raises minimum fuel standards, encourages alternative fuels and increases America's energy efficiency.

 

"Today's vote for energy efficiency and alternative fuels is a victory for our children and grandchildren who will benefit from a cleaner environment and greater energy independence," said Senator Cardin.   "While this legislation could have been even stronger, I am confident that the Renewable Fuels, Consumer Protection, and Energy Efficiency Act of 2007 is a significant move in the right direction to make our country energy independent."

 

"Perhaps the most significant part of this legislation is the first increase in minimum fuel economy standards for cars and trucks in 30 years. The legislation passed today will raise the corporate average fuel economy ( CAFE ) standards for cars and light trucks to 35 miles per gallon by 2020. This 40 percent increase is overdue, but most welcome. According to Federal Highway statistics, Maryland drivers will save an estimated $414 million at the gas pump annually by 2020 because of the increased fuel economy standards. The average family with two cars will save up to $1,000 a year. " Senator Cardin noted.

 

The bill, which now goes to the President for signature, includes provisions to encourage the development of renewable fuels, such as biofuels, to further extend America's energy independence. H.R. 6 makes a historic commitment to develop cellulosic ethanol by requiring that by 2022 the United States produce 21 billion gallons of advanced biofuels, like cellulosic ethanol. Homegrown renewable fuels will replace the equivalent of all the oil we import from the Middle East today.

 

"We need to become energy independent to ensure our national and economic security," said Senator Cardin. "America should not be dependent upon some country halfway around the world that is hostile to our culture and way of life.  We need to become energy independent to counter the detrimental effect that rising energy costs have on our economy."

 

From his position on the Environment and Public Works Committee, Senator Cardin was a leader in promoting "green building" standards for the federal government. "The federal government has to be a leader in energy efficiency, not just a regulator. This bill mandates a 30 percent reduction in energy consumption for all federal buildings, which would save approximately 60 trillion BTUs of energy, 15 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, and almost $4 billion in taxpayers' money," said Senator Cardin.

 

"H.R. 6 is a strong bill but it's hard not to regret what has been negotiated out of the bill.  Most important was the provision to require a renewable electricity mandate.  I also regret the repeal of ill-advised tax breaks for oil companies that would have paid for tax incentives for renewables, including solar energy," Senator Cardin said.