June 18, 2007

CARDIN INTRODUCES AMENDMENTS TO ENERGY BILL, CALLS FOR ENERGY INDEPENDENCE BY 2017

AMENDMENTS CALL FOR CREATING COMMISSION TO ENSURE ENERGY INDEPENDENCE BY 2017 AND RESTORING STATE AND LOCAL AUTHORITY OVER SITING OF LNG TERMINALS

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD) today introduced two amendments to the CLEAN Energy Act (H.R. 6).  The first amendment would create a National Commission on Energy Independence to ensure that all but 10 percent of the energy needs of the United States are supplied by domestic energy sources by the year 2017.  The second would restore authority to state and local governments in decisions on siting and construction of new Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminals within their jurisdictions.  Senator Cardin is firmly committed to an environmentally friendly, energy independent future for America.
 
"We need to become energy independent to ensure our national and economic security," said Senator Cardin, introducing his energy independence amendment on the Senate floor today.  "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.  Everyone is affected when the cost of energy rises.  Our small businesses, farmers, and working families have all felt the impact of the drastic cost increase over the past few years.
 
"Equally important, we need to become energy independent to protect our environment.  Global climate change is a real danger to this country and we need an energy policy that will also make us friendlier towards the environment.  We need greater investment in renewable sources of energy.   Wind, solar, and biofuels all hold great promise for our future.  But we need to make a firm commitment to investing in these technologies, to increase efficiency and reduce costs to the consumer.  We have a bipartisan responsibility to ensure our country becomes energy independent, for our security, for our economy, and for our environment."
 
Senator Cardin also offered an amendment that would give state and local governments greater authority in determining the location of LNG terminals within their boundaries.  The amendment, cosponsored by Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD), would require the Army Corps of Engineers to secure the approval of the affected state's governor before issuing permits to construct an LNG terminal.
 
"This amendment is not designed to stop the construction of new LNG terminals," Senator Cardin said.  "It merely levels the playing field by giving state and local authorities a meaningful opportunity to participate in the decision-making process about where these plants are located. 
 
"Many LNG terminals are being planned near populated areas and in environmentally sensitive coastal waters.  An accident or a terrorist act at an LNG terminal could have a devastating impact on the communities nearby.  Federal authorities should negotiate in good faith with states and local communities if they want those communities to bear the risks associated with such operations.  It's what federalism is all about."
 
The Senate will continue consideration of the comprehensive energy bill next week.