WASHINGTON – U.S.
Senator Benjamin L. Cardin, D-MD, today introduced legislation that would create a framework for the United States to become energy independent in a decade, and put us on the path to become fossil fuel independent.
The Energy Independence Act
would create a bipartisan Blue Ribbon Commission to study and review policy changes that are needed for the United States to achieve energy independence. Starting in 2009, the Commission would meet every two years and report to Congress on how to adjust our policies to achieve energy independence by 2017. Energy independence is defined as getting 90% of our energy needs from domestic sources.
"For too long America has been held hostage by its reliance on foreign energy," said Senator Cardin. "Energy independence is critical for our national security and for our environment, and this bill provides a much-needed framework for developing a comprehensive energy policy for our nation."
Senator Cardin has said that a comprehensive energy policy must include conservation, greater availability of renewable energy sources and investment in our transportation infrastructure, including more funding for rail systems, buses, subways and light rail.
Petroleum accounts for 84% of our nation's imported energy. Transportation accounts for approximately 28% of all energy used in the United States. The Senator supports raising CAFÉ standards, which could save more than 36 billion gallons of gas a year. He also has called for creating standards for replacement tires, which experts have said would save more than 7 billion barrels of oil over a 50-year period.
Senator Cardin also has sponsored legislation that would require all new federal buildings to meet the LEED Silver standard in their construction to ensure energy efficiency. He also has called for requiring energy companies to offer American consumers a greater availability of renewable energy products.
"We are going to achieve energy independence only if we make the commitment and investment that it takes. It is a long process, but we need a framework that is innovative and flexible to help meet our goal."