Sen. Mary Landrieu said:
“I welcome and support the president’s dedication to reducing this country’s dependence on foreign oil. I know we can reduce our dependency on foreign oil by aggressively producing our own domestic natural resources, by developing advanced biofuels that are fungible with our current infrastructure, and by using the technology that already exists to improve the efficiency of the internal combustion engine as we wait for electric vehicles, and other advanced vehicles, to come to market for the average consumer.
“Louisiana is home to the nation’s oil and gas industry that is trying to get back to work after the Deepwater Horizon accident. The recent deepwater permits issued by the Interior Department are encouraging, but if the president is serious about reducing our dependency on foreign oil, then we need to rapidly accelerate the permitting process in the Gulf to increase production. In addition, we need to expand production to offshore Alaska and to other areas where recoverable domestic resources exist.
“In Louisiana, there are a handful of companies who are already trying to advance the president’s goal, but unfortunately, the Department of Energy does not seem to be focused on moving these projects forward. Next Autoworks, a company that has developed a highly efficient internal combustion engine vehicle, submitted its first loan application in May of 2009. DOE has been working with the company since then, but DOE has not indicated any timeline for making a decision on this loan. This company, which will manufacture cars in Monroe, LA and create 1,400 direct jobs, expects its vehicles to achieve 40 mpg, which is almost double the fuel efficiency the average U.S. passenger vehicle achieves now and already exceeds federal fuel economy standards.
“I am encouraged by the president’s statement and I agree that he does not need congressional action to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. He can do something right now to advance his goals, and I hope he takes this opportunity to direct Secretary Salazar to approve pending drilling applications and Secretary Chu to approve pending DOE loan applications.”
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