How we generate, use and pay for energy is one of the most complex and highly charged areas of federal policy. While Congress has not considered comprehensive energy legislation since 2007, Senator Leahy has supported and helped lead a number of energy related legislative initiatives in recent years.
Senator Leahy has supported raising the fuel economy standards for cars and trucks, setting tough energy efficiency standards for appliances in homes and workplaces, and mandating an increase in production and use of renewable fuels. These efforts will save consumers money and help protect the environment from the harmful effects of increased fossil fuel exploration.
Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Rob Portman introduced the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act in abipartisan effort to reduce energy use by promoting the implementation of energy efficient technologies across the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors. Unfortunately, this bill now represents another missed opportunity to reduce our nation's dependency on fossil fuels. Senator Leahy is frustrated that a handful of Senators obstructed the entire debate on the Shaheen-Portman efficiency bill simply because their amendments, which were completely unrelated to the bill, were not brought for a vote.
Supporting Renewable Energy
Senator Leahy is an original cosponor of the Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act to encourage the repeal of billions of dollars in tax breaks for big oil. It is unfair that oil companies are bringing in record profits, while Vermont families struggle to pay their energy and gas bills, and the nation struggles to balance its budget. Senator Leahy believes the United States should invest in energy efficient and clean energy technologies such as wind, solar, and biomass. Through innovation and entrepreneurship, our nation can become a world leader in the green economy, bring down consumer energy prices, protect the environment, and create jobs across the country.
Senator Leahy will continue to support energy policies that back strong environmental regulations, reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, and advance renewable energy. Legislation should focus on making clean energy more affordable and attractive in the face of rising energy costs. Senator Leahy believes that reducing carbon emissions will have important economic, national security, and public health implications.
While Senator Leahy recognizes the need to harness domestic energy resources, he does not support oil and gas exploration at the expense of supporting clean energy resources that will provide a long-term solution to our nation’s energy crisis. He believes oil and gas legislation must protect America’s environment and include strong safety and oversight provisions.
As we have learned the hard way, offshore drilling presents tremendous environmental and economic harms when something goes wrong. Senator Leahy will continue to fight to ensure the right oversight mechanisms are in place so if accidents do happen, those responsible pay for the cleanup. Measures to expand drilling by undermining new offshore drilling safety regulations imposed after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill are putting coastal residents at risk of another accident.