May 10, 2011

Manchin, Barrasso Introduce Commonsense Legislation to Ease Pain at the Pump

Bill would break down barriers to alternative fuel sources

Washington, D.C. –U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) today introduced commonsense legislation to ease the pain at the pump for West Virginia families and decrease our nation’s dependence on foreign oil.  The American Alternative Fuels Act breaks down the barriers to alternative fuels — including fuels derived from coal, biomass, algae and waste.  

“Our unacceptably high gas prices are hurting not only West Virginians, but all Americans, and they underscore a critical need: the federal government needs to be a partner, not an obstacle, for businesses that can transform our domestic energy resources into gas,” Senator Manchin said.  “Just yesterday, I helped break ground in Mingo County, West Virginia for a new plant that is the first of its kind in this country, one that transforms coal to gasoline. That could be a model for using what we already have here at home to end our dependence on foreign oil. I’m proud to support this legislation with my friend John Barrasso, and continue to push for a national energy plan that will help drive down the price of gas and make us energy independent within this generation.” 

“With the price of gas skyrocketing, Americans are expected to pay an extra $800 this year to fill up their tanks,” Senator Barrasso said.  “It’s more important than ever that we make it as easy as possible to use all available sources of American energy.  Breaking down barriers to alternative fuels is one way we can ease the pain at the pump and decrease our dependence on foreign oil.”  

The American Alternative Fuels Act is cosponsored by Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO), Dan Coats (R-Ind.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). 


The American Alternative Fuels Act:

Repeals barriers to domestic fuel production: The bill repeals Section 526 of the 2007 Energy bill, which greatly restricts the federal government from buying alternative fuels.

Increases transparency in the Loan Guarantee Program: The bill creates a reporting requirement for domestic fuel-focused Loan Guarantee applications that are facing continued delays at the Department of Energy.  Increasing transparency in the Loan Guarantee Program will help speed the process by pinpointing the delays in the bureaucratic process.

Promotes algae-based fuel: The bill provides incentives under the renewable fuel standard for algae-based fuel that uses carbon capture and sequestrations.

Synthetic Natural Gas Production: The bill clarifies that synthetic natural gas production facilities are eligible for the loan guarantee program.  Synthetic natural gas can be produced from coal, biomass, petroleum coke, or solid waste.  

DOD Long-Term Contracting Authority: The bill allows the Department of Defense to enter into long-term contracts (20 years) for purchasing alternative fuels. 

Electric Vehicle Impact on Electricity Demand: The bill requires EPA to take into account both the increased demand and the decreased emissions resulting from electric vehicle use in setting performance standards for new electric generation facilities.