WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Pete Domenici today joined President George W. Bush at a ceremony to sign into law new energy legislation that will reduce oil dependency. As ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Domenici played a major role in securing passage of the bill.
The President’s signature comes just days after Congress approved legislation that largely contains the priorities outlined by Domenici at the beginning of debate on the energy bill. The new energy law will increase CAFE (fuel economy) standards, implement a Renewable Fuels Standard, and improve America’s energy efficiency.
“Today is a historic day in our quest to reduce dependence on oil, particularly from foreign sources. President Bush deserves credit for providing the framework for this bill, and in particular for his push for stronger CAFE standards, in last year’s State of the Union. I’m pleased to be here with him one year later with legislation that will accomplish this important goal,” Domenici said.
“The new energy law will also establish a Renewable Fuels Standard, which will use ethanol and a new generation of advanced biofuels to displace oil. And it features important improvements to our efficiency and lighting standards which will reduce energy usage. While many of us on both sides of the aisle didn’t get everything we wanted in this bill, I believe that this legislation reflects the right priorities,” he continued.
Domenici successfully led Senate opposition to House-sponsored energy provisions which would have increased prices for consumers by imposing taxes on domestic oil and gas producers and a one-size-fits all renewable electricity mandate on electricity usage. Had either of these provisions been included in the bill, it is not likely that it would have been signed into law.
The Senator was also a forceful advocate for stronger CAFE standards, passed by the Senate Commerce Committee, which have not been updated by Congress since 1975. Domenici noted that the new energy law contains the same major items as the bill originally drafted by the Energy and Natural Resources Committee and passed by the Senate in June.