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Tackling our nation’s energy crisis will require a broad and comprehensive strategy that includes pursuing all forms of energy including wind, solar, nuclear, biofuels and coal. I will continue to strongly support the development of renewable energy sources that reduce our dependence on foreign oil and create new, innovative green jobs for Hoosiers. Since coming to Congress, I have had an opportunity to vote on a wide range of progressive energy bills that seek to create jobs, increase domestic energy production and protect our environment.
Opposing Harmful Deregulation
Disasters like the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the Upper Big Branch Mine collapse brought the dangers of deregulation to the forefront. These dangers become even clearer when considering the millions of Americans who are suffering from diseases ranging from cancer to asthma because of pollutants in our air and water.
We need to eliminate redundant and overly burdensome regulation. But reasonable, scientifically developed regulation is critical to protecting lives, the environment and the American economy. Regulations ensure that unreasonable risks are not being taken and that energy is being produced as responsibly and cleanly as possible. Unfortunately, many in Congress have decided to focus on eliminating many of the most important EPA and Clean Air Act regulations that protect the American public. I have and will continue to oppose legislation that puts my constituents at risk.
Supporting Creation of Green Jobs
Today, companies around the world are finding ways to make everything from cars to power plants cleaner and more energy efficient. The demand for green products is greater than ever before and recent trends seem to show that this will only increase over time. With so many Americans still looking for work, green jobs will be a critical part of our economic recovery.
I was proud to support the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in the 111th Congress. This landmark legislation provided one the most significant investments in our nation’s green industries. It established almost $40 billion in tax incentives for the production of energy from solar, wind, biofuel, biomass, landfill gas and small irrigation sources. It also invested in a number of multi-million dollar green energy projects in Indianapolis, such as new hybrid technology developed by Allison Transmission, EnerDel automatic lithium-ion batteries, and millions of dollars worth of federal funding to encourage the development of clean energy start-ups and new clean energy technologies.
Grants like these helped businesses to create thousands of jobs across the country while reducing our reliance on oil and limiting harm to our environment. I will continue to advocate for funding of critical green jobs programs and will support the creation of new programs that will put Americans to work growing green industries.
Promoting Cleaner, More Efficient Fuels
Today, over 80% of American energy comes from petroleum, coal and natural gas. Clearly, these will remain our primary energy sources into the foreseeable future, so I believe it is critical for us to continue investing in technologies to make them cleaner, cheaper and more efficient.
I am also a strong supporter of an “all in” approach to American energy, which seeks to improve petroleum, coal and natural gas technologies while prioritizing research into renewable sources of energy like wind, solar, hydro, nuclear and geothermal. These new technologies will ensure that our future is not tied to unstable oil producers abroad and our large, but limited, supply of coal and natural gas.
Controlling Oil Speculation and Price Gouging
Over the last few years, we have significant fluctuations in prices at the pump. Sadly, these have forced many people to choose between filling up their tank and putting food on their tables or going to the doctor. This is simply unacceptable.
Studies have shown that irresponsible speculation in the oil market contributed to these unnatural fluctuations that are hurting the American public. More needs to be done to rein in traders who speculate in oil markets purely to make a profit. I will continue to advocate in Congress for action to limit dangerous speculation.
Increasing Domestic Oil Production
As the cost of crude oil hit record levels over the past few years, American oil companies held the drilling rights to millions of acres that went unexplored and underutilized. In order to increase our nation’s domestic oil production and lower prices, I joined my Democratic colleagues in calling on oil and gas companies to responsibly drill on over 68 million acres of unused land for which they currently hold leases. I believe that it is critical for this land to be used before Congress grants permission for these companies to expand their offshore or wilderness drilling efforts.
In a time of consistently high energy costs, far too many Americans have trouble covering the cost of their heating and cooling bills. The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) has given critical assistance to many low income families, including thousands across Indianapolis, helping them to cover their bills during times of financial struggle.
The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) works side by side with LIHEAP by helping low income families install energy efficient heaters, air conditioners, insulation and windows. This program lowers energy bills and helps Hoosier families keep safe and healthy during hot summers and cold winters.
I believe that LIHEAP and WAP are absolutely critical and will continue to support expanded funding of both programs.