| On Our Way to Energy Security and Independence
By Nancy Pelosi, Speaker Jan 15, 2008
Last November, the American people made it clear that our country needed a New Direction. In the first session of the 110th Congress, we have made historic strides to make America, restore the American Dream, and restore accountability. And last month, we successfully passed a sweeping new energy policy—the Energy Independence and Security Act. This landmark energy bill will lead our nation on a path to energy independence, with clean and renewable energies, and lower prices for consumers.
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Instead of remaining wedded to the failed energy policy of the past that keeps us dependent on foreign oil, the New Direction Congress has embraced a clean, renewable, independent energy future for America. One way to make Americans safer is to grow our energy here at home. That is why we have made an historic commitment to homegrown biofuels – increasing the Renewable Fuels Standard to 36 billion gallons in 2020. The crops America’s farmers grow are becoming the fuel that powers our cars as we send our energy dollars to the Midwest, not the Middle East – to farmers nationwide. America’s farmers will fuel America’s energy independence, promoting small businesses and creating millions of new jobs.
Energy independence is an urgent national security issue; it is an environmental issue; it is a health issue; it is a moral issue; and it is an economic issue for America’s families. In order to reduce the price at the pump, our legislation made an historic increase in fuel efficiency standards – for the first time in 32 years.
Raising these standards to 35 mpg by 2020 will save the average driver $700 to $1,000 each year, adding up to $22 billion in net annual consumer savings by 2020.
Energy security is also closely related to global warming – the greatest environmental challenge facing the planet. The urgency of that challenge was recognized last month as former Vice President Al Gore was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and as world leaders gathered for the Bali global warming conference. The Bush Administration has responded far too slowly to the threat of climate change. Our energy bill will tell the world that America is prepared to become a leader in addressing the global climate crisis.
And in San Francisco, we continue to be on the forefront of protecting our environment. Under the leadership of Mayor Gavin Newsom, the City has implemented a number of innovative policies that set the standard for how localities can play a leading role in halting global warming.
In fact, Mayor Newsom has recently proposed legislation that would enact the strictest environmental building codes in the nation for some residential buildings, commercial buildings, and renovation projects. He has also championed the use of biofuels by mandating that all 1,500 city owned diesel vehicles – including fire engines, ambulances, buses and street sweepers – run on more environmentally friendly biodiesel.
The comprehensive energy legislation passed by the New Direction Congress is an historic achievement that will secure America, create more jobs, protect our environment, and set us on the path to energy independence. In the new year, Congress will continue our efforts to combat global warming.
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