The House Energy and Commerce Committee last week approved refinery legislation—HR 3893: Gasoline for America’s Security Act of 2005—out of committee.
Proposed following the damage to refining capacity caused by Katrina (and now worsened by Rita), the legislation is designed to encourage the building of new refineries. It also tackles gasoline distribution and pricing; reduces the number of specialized fuels in the country from 19 to 6; codifies the President’s ability to waive fuel quality standards in time of emergency, and encourages carpooling.
Our country needs more oil refineries because the people who work for a living need gasoline to get to work. These are the people who earn paychecks and buy groceries and pay their bills, including their taxes. That means they use gasoline every day. They need it, and they need it at a price they can afford to pay.
The President has recently called for Americans to conserve fuel. We should conserve energy, but not by mandates from the federal government. The bill will help Americans conserve gasoline by encouraging car and vanpooling. And where Americans cannot conserve, they should be protected from price gouging.—Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee
The legislation includes some of the following provisions:
Encourages the construction of new refineries to increase supply by streamlining siting procedures; providing regulatory risk insurance for refiners; mandating the siting of three refineries on designated federal lands; authorizing the president to enter into a contact to have a refinery permitted, constructed and operated to make petroleum products for military consumption; and removing a number of regulatory barriers.
Cuts the number of “boutique fuels”—i.e., different blends mandated by regional regulation or sold to specific markets—from 19 to 6.
Promotes new pipelines by altering siting requirements for pipelines and for pipeline expansions.
Directs the DOE secretary to establish and to carry out a program to encourage the use of carpooling and vanpooling to reduce the consumption of gasoline.
Outlaws price gouging in gasoline or diesel sales.
Permits the DOE secretary to sell petroleum products from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to finance construction of the additional capacity needed to fill the SPR to 1 billion barrels.