Two Amendments by Congressman John Garamendi Adopted into House Energy Bill
WASHINGTON, DC - Yesterday, the House of Representatives unanimously adopted two amendments by John Garamendi (D-Fairfield), as part of H.R. 8, the so-called North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act. Garamendi’s amendments would ensure that transportation of energy be included in Congress’ consideration of energy security valuation methods, and require the Secretary of Energy to conduct a study to determine a maximum allowable volatility standard for crude oil. Volatility determines how likely crude oil is to explode during accidents such as train derailments, and the establishment of a national standard in accordance with Garamendi’s amendment will reduce the likelihood of the types of lethal oil train explosions that have occurred throughout North America in recent years.
“Energy policy can’t simply focus on generation,” Garamendi said of his amendments. “How we transport energy deserves very careful consideration. Too often, these choices are made without consideration of strategies to achieve important policy goals like creating good manufacturing jobs and enhancing our national security. Safety must also be a top concern: oil train traffic has increased by 5,000 percent because of the shale oil boom. The risk of derailments, spills and explosions is very real, and we need a volatility standard to guarantee the safety of the communities this oil traffic passes through. Oil trains can and do pass by major residential neighborhoods and schools in my district, including Davis, Dixon, Suisun and Marysville. I want them to be as safe as possible.”
“The success of these amendments show that there is bipartisan concern in Congress for the security implications of our energy transportation policy,” Garamendi continued.
Despite the success of his amendments, Congressman Garamendi voted against final passage of H.R. 8. The bill started out as a bipartisan compromise on energy policy before being gutted in favor of a bill that caters to the wish lists of big coal and big oil at the expense of consumers, agriculture and the environment.
“The very same week that leaders across the globe are meeting in Paris to find a worldwide solution to climate change, our Congress is seeking to lock our country into dependence on energy sources like coal and oil that pollute our environment and contribute to climate change,” said Congressman Garamendi. “H.R. 8 would artificially subsidize coal, inhibit the development of clean energy technologies, and reverse progress on energy efficiency. With climate change threatening our planet and way of life, we need to search for new solutions, not drag our country back to the energy policy of the last century.”
Congressman Garamendi was especially troubled by the adoption of an amendment to allow unfettered exports of crude oil without any safeguards for American motorists or industries.“If our country is seeking to become energy independent, it makes zero sense to allow unrestricted exports of our oil overseas,” he said. “It may make more profits for the oil industry, but it won’t help consumers, agriculture, or the refinery industry here at home. It’s a bad idea.”