For Immediate Release
June 7, 2006
Contact: Lindsay Jackson
Biofuel and Gasoline Refinery Permits to be Better Coordinated
Washington, D.C. - Congressman Charles Bass (R-NH02)today applauded House passage of H.R. 5254, the Refinery Permit Process Schedule Act. This Bass-authored legislation would create a federally coordinated scheduling process for the siting, permitting, and approval of the construction of a biofuel or petroleum refinery. The House passed the Refinery Permit Process Schedule Act by a vote of 238 to 179.
"This legislation addresses the basic fact that our nation's demand for refined products outstrips supply by a growing margin due to the lack of domestic refining capacity, which has led to the predictable result of higher and higher prices for all Americans," said Bass."An uncertain and disorganized system of regulations and approvals has strangled the planning of all new refineries since 1976."
Domestic refineries produce roughly 17 million barrels of fuel per day to meet an average demand of 21 million barrels. This growing shortfall increases our reliance on imported refined products and causes prices to rise accordingly. The Bass legislation would streamline a badly disjointed approval process and assist local, state, and federal officials in untangling the confusing and sometimes contradictory regulations and permitting required by various regulatory agencies. A primary goal of the legislation is also to promote new biofuel and petroleum refineries being constructed outside of the Gulf of Mexico.
"Currently, half of all our domestic refinery capacity is concentrated in the Gulf States, a region too vulnerable to natural disasters. That in turn puts the U.S. energy security at risk and causes periodic supply disruptions and price increases," stated Bass. "Simply expanding our current refineries fails to address this concentration and indeed makes it worse. Moreover, such expansion only increases our over reliance on crude oil as a feedstock. Constructing new refiners in other regions provides needed geographic distribution and also creates the opportunity to utilize locally available biomass and other renewable fuel feedstocks. Our agricultural and forestry resources are currently sufficient to sustainably displace more than one third of our transportation fuel needs, and we should support domestic supply over protecting the import-dependent status quo."
Under the legislation, financial and technical assistance would be available to the states to help them gather the appropriate data and comply with all the needed requirements for a federal refinery authorization. In addition, the legislation would require the President to designated at least three closed military bases that might serve as a suitable location for a new refinery, and at least one such designation would have to be for a potential biorefinery.
"Bringing new biofuel and traditional refineries online outside of the Gulf of Mexico region is an important and credible way to increase our energy security and restore lower cost supplies for consumers," concluded the Peterborough Republican. "We need to improve the current system that has led to tight supplies, high prices for consumers, a risky concentration of capacity in the Gulf region, and an over dependence on foreign crude oil."