- Senate votes to block measure to drill in ANWR and off California’s Coast; Halt shipments to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve -
May 13 2008
Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) voted on two key energy votes in the Senate today. The measures were introduced as amendments to the Flood Insurance Reform and Modernization Act, which was approved by the Senate today.
- Senator Feinstein voted against opening up ANWR and drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf off the coast of California. The amendment, which was offered by Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), failed by a vote of 42-56.
- Senator Feinstein voted to suspend oil shipments to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) until December, as long as the price of crude oil remains above $75 per barrel. The amendment, which was offered by Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.), was overwhelmingly approved by a vote of 97-1.
“In an environment of intense frustration, we scored a victory today by preventing oil drilling off the coast of California and in ANWR,” Senator Feinstein said. “I have consistently worked to protect California’s coast from exploitation – and I will continue to oppose any measure that would open our majestic coastline to drilling. With less than 3 percent of the world’s oil reserves, we cannot drill our way out of these record energy prices.
Unfortunately, there is no quick and easy fix to our volatile energy markets. But consumers are being squeezed by $4 per gallon gas prices. And we must do every little bit we can to help.
Suspending stockpiles to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve – 70,000 barrels per day – will inject more oil into the marketplace and could help lower prices. So, this is an important step we can take to help consumers.
Bottom line: these sky-high energy prices underscore the need to reduce demand for fossil fuels, and make a permanent shift towards clean energy and green technologies.”
Important Energy Legislation Sponsored by Senator Feinstein
Increasing Fuel Efficiency
The new Ten-in-Ten fuel economy law, which was authored by Senator Feinstein and Senator Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), is a major part of a long-term solution to help reduce reliance on oil.
Increasing fuel efficiency by 10 miles per gallon over 10 years will:
- Save consumers $700 to $1000 per year at the pump (based on $3 gas).
- Save 2 million barrels of oil per day, or roughly what we import today from the Persian Gulf, by 2025.
Closing the “Enron Loophole”
Senators Feinstein and Snowe, along with Senator Carl Levin (D-Mich.), are the lead sponsors of legislation to help prevent manipulation, excessive speculation and fraud in electronic energy markets.
Since 2000, the trading of electronic commodities, like oil or natural gas, has been exempt from federal regulation under the so-called “Enron Loophole.” In 2005, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations found that speculation adds an additional $20-25 per barrel to the price of oil.
The Farm Bill conferees have reported that the legislation sponsored by Senators Feinstein, Snowe, Levin and others to close the Enron Loophole would be included in the final Farm Bill conference report.