This week, the White House released a one-year progress report on the President’s Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future, which identifies steps to help reduce our reliance on foreign oil, save families and businesses money, and make the U.S. a global leader in clean energy.
The President’s plan is critically important for our energy future because it identifies steps to move beyond the piecemeal approach of last several decades and offers a comprehensive set of energy policy goals.
As a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Senator Coons is actively engaged in promoting energy security, efficiency, and clean energy innovation. He believes a clear, cohesive energy policy that includes both the public and the private sector would empower investors, innovators, researchers, and entrepreneurs to develop game-changing energy technologies.
In analyzing the White House’s progress report, a few key themes emerge:
Expanding Domestic Production of Oil and Gas and Reducing Imports
Since 2008, the U.S. has increased domestic oil production by more than 12 percent and natural gas production by roughly 15 percent, making America the new world leader in natural gas production. Currently, we have more oil and gas rigs operating than the rest of the world combined, and we are less dependent on foreign oil than in the last 16 years.
Chris believes that we must continue to grow our domestic energy production in ways that meets health and safety standards and limits environmental impact. While greater domestic production will not bring down gas prices overnight, it will contribute to our long-term energy security.
Establishing New Fuel Economy Standards
This past year, President Obama announced a historic agreement with major automakers to increase the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards to 54.5 miles per gallon for cars and light-duty trucks by model year 2025. The Energy Information Administration’s latest outlook recognized that fuel economy standards have contributed to our increased energy security.
Chris recently joined 29 of his fellow Senators in signing a letter expressing strong support for the new CAFE standards, which will save consumers $1.7 trillion at the pump and reduce oil consumption by 2.2 million barrels a day – more than the total amount we import from OPEC.
Supporting Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Since 2009, the Administration has completed energy upgrades in more than one million homes across the country, many of which will save families over $400 on heating and cooling bills each year. Due to investments in clean energy, the U.S. has nearly doubled renewable energy generation from wind, solar, and geothermal sources since 2008.
Chris is a passionate advocate for clean energy innovation, in particular through the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy. He recently had the opportunity to visit their conference and see cutting-edge energy ideas at work.
Ending Subsidies for Oil and Gas Companies
The President’s FY 2013 budget seeks to eliminate subsides for oil and gas companies that cost American taxpayers $4 billion annually and impede investments in cleaner energy. Chris agrees these subsidies are a waste of taxpayer dollars and provide unnecessary support for mature energy technology. He voted last year in favor of the Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act (S. 258) to end these subsidies, and while this vote was unsuccessful, Chris will continue to work to ensure that clean energy industries are not disadvantaged in comparison to the oil and gas industry.