Schumer: Energy Bill Is Historic Mistake And Step Backwards For The Environment, Taxpayers, And National Security

Schumer: In Ten Years We Will Be Worse Off When It Comes To EnergyEnergy Bill Contains No Meaningful Provisions to Reduce Dependence On Foreign Oil or Improve Energy EfficiencyWasteful, Expensive Ethanol Mandate Will Increase Gas Prices On New YorkersEnergy Bill Poses Grave Threat To National Security By Weakening Export Standards For Highly Enriched Uranium

Today U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer announced his opposition to the Energy Bill passed by the U.S. Senate, saying the bill was a step backwards for the environment, taxpayers, and national security. The bill passed by a vote of 7426 today after passing the House last night.

Schumer said Americas refusal to seriously address our dependence on foreign oil was a mistake of historic proportions. Our refusal to understand and see ahead of the curve and say we're going to avoid this energy problem demonstrates a failure by the Congress and the Administration. We know we're going to be sending more dollars and more wealth overseas to pay for energy. We know that it's going to slow down our economy. We know it's going to create real bottlenecks. And yet we sort of fiddle while Rome burns.

Schumer continued by saying that the bill was even more exceptional for what was not in the bill. But what's far worse than what's in the bill is what's not in the bill. The effort to conserve is negligible. The effort to reduce our dependence on foreign oil is nonexistent. And as a result, with the passage of this bill, we're not going to be any better off. In fact, we'll be worse five and 10 years from now when it comes to energy than today.

Schumer said the energy bill, as reported out of conference, took absolutely no measurable steps towards reducing dependency on foreign oil or slightly reducing dependence on fossil fuels by stripping the Renewable Portfolio Standard out of the bill. The RPS would have required 10% of Americas electricity to be produced by renewable fuels. Schumer stated, Once again it appears that old energy wins out over new energy, and instead we get a goodie bag for oil, coal, and nuclear.

Schumer said the bill imposes an ethanol tax on the American driver, by mandating ethanol in every gallon of gasoline sold in the United States. This provision adds an astonishing new anticonsumer, antifree market requirement that every refiner in the country, regardless of where they are located, regardless of whether the State mandates it or not, and of whether the State chooses a different path to get to clean air, must use an everincreasing volume of ethanol. It is nothing less than an ethanol gas tax levied on every driver the employee driving to work, the mom who is driving the kids to school, a truck driver who earns a living. Every gasoline user in this country will pay.

The energy bill also introduces a grave threat to national and global security by permitting exports of nuclear material that could fall into the hands of terrorists and be converted to nuclear weapons. In the effort to address a supposed medical isotope shortage that does not exist, this bill needlessly and dangerously undercuts requirements for foreign reactors to convert nonbomb uranium before we send them future shipments of material that could be used to make a nuclear weapon.

Schumer also objected to provisions that threatened the environment by exempting some oil and gas exploration from having to obtain permits for certain provisions of the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act.

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