WASHINGTON, Feb. 28, 2002 — The Senate energy bill introduced by Sens. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) and Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) would dramatically improve America’s national energy security, expand the market for cleaner energy technologies, and reduce pollution generated by traditional energy sources, according to NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council).

“The Daschle-Bingaman energy bill charts a positive vision for our country that relies on American technological know-how to develop energy sources that are cleaner, faster and cheaper than traditional dirty fuel sources,” said Dan Lashof, science director for NRDC’s Climate Center.

According to the NRDC, the Energy Policy Act would offer incentives for power companies to increase use of energy produced from clean, renewable sources like wind and solar, and for builders to improve the energy efficiency of our homes and offices; and expand the use of renewable energy sources by requiring retail electricity suppliers to purchase 10 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2020.
Notably absent from the legislation is any mention of the opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil development. According to government figures, refuge oil would increase world reserves by less than three-tenths of 1 percent — not enough to make a significant dent in our imports. Overall, the United States holds only 3 percent of known world oil reserves — and consumes 25 percent of the world’s produced oil. Half of current imports come from the Middle East and other volatile regions of the world.

“Despite what the big oil companies and their friends in Congress want people to believe, we can’t drill our way to energy independence,” said Lashof. “We must reject attempts to turn America’s national treasures — such as the Arctic Refuge and other protected wild lands — into oil fields, especially when there are better solutions.”

The Daschle-Bingaman energy bill stands in stark contrast to the Republican-authored House energy package (H.R. 4), which favors the failed energy policies of the past, says NRDC. The House bill would provide more than $34 billion in new subsidies to fossil fuel and nuclear industries, increase our dependence on foreign oil by failing to increase fuel economy standards, and encourage oil development in the Arctic Refuge and other wild and special western lands.

The Natural Resources Defense Council is a national, non-profit organization of scientists, lawyers and environmental specialists dedicated to protecting public health and the environment. Founded in 1970, NRDC has more than 500,000 members nationwide, served from offices in New York, Washington, Los Angeles and San Francisco.