Refinery Bill Will Do Nothing To Create New Refineries

There is broad agreement that we have a shortage of refinery capacity in the United States today to produce the gasoline, diesel products, and other refined products we use on a daily basis. However the Refinery Permit Process Act considered by the House of Representatives yesterday does nothing to ensure that new refineries will actually be constructed. The bill simply adds a new layer of Federal bureaucracy to the permitting process by creating a Federal coordinator to oversee State-permitting actions while weakening State environmental protection processes. The legislation proceeds from the deeply flawed assumption that the reason that we have a refinery shortage is burdensome State permitting processes when in fact oil companies themselves have told us that environmental regulations are simply not the problem. The sensible alternative offered by myself and Energy and Commerce Ranking Member John Dingell would have built upon the success of the Strategic Petroleum reserve through the creation of a federal Strategic Refinery Reserve, which would produce gasoline and other refined petroleum products to be used during an emergency energy supply disruption such as we experienced following the devastating hurricanes in the gulf coast region last year. Our legislation provides a common sense solution for the problem of refinery capacity shortage, which is simply not addressed in the bill considered yesterday.

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