Thank you for contacting me to express your views regarding the energy issues facing our nation.
We must develop a long-term energy strategy that alleviates high energy prices and reduces our dependency on foreign oil while protecting our precious environment. The prices of home energy and gasoline has risen in recent months, leaving many struggling to afford driving to work and heating or cooling their homes. In the meantime, oil companies continue to see record-breaking profits.
I recently voted for the comprehensive CLEAN Energy Act in the Senate. The act will help reduce our dependence on foreign oil by requiring annual use of 36 billion gallons of alternative fuels like ethanol by 2022, mandating the Federal government adopt "green" building standards, and increasing fuel economy standards for automobiles and light trucks to 35 miles-per-gallon by the year 2020. The legislation will also protect consumers from gasoline price gouging and improve the efficiency of appliances.
I am also a cosponsor of the Dependence Reduction through Innovation in Vehicles and Energy (DRIVE) Act. The DRIVE Act would increase the availability of alternative transportation fuels, provide incentives for the purchase of hybrid and flexible-fuel vehicles, and spur development of next-generation fuels and hybrid cars. A larger market for gasoline made from corn, sugar, orange peels, switchgrass, or a variety of other products would help keep the price of gasoline down. Several provisions of this legislation were adopted in the CLEAN Energy Act.
I also supported measures in the CLEAN Energy bill that would encourage alternative energy development like wind and solar power by offering tax incentives to users, as well as a measure that would require utilities to produce a percentage of their electricity from renewable resources. These measures would help reduce our dependency on foreign oil, but unfortunately they were dropped from the final bill.
This bill is now being sent to the President for his signature. As we continue to discuss energy issues in the Senate, I will be sure to keep your views in mind. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future.