Gasoline for America's Security Act of 2005
The Gasoline for America's Security Act of 2005 H. Res. 3893 -- "To expedite the construction of new refining capacity in the United States, to provide reliable and affordable energy for the American people, and for other purposes." -- sponsored by Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, without co-sponsors, was introduced by Barton September 26, 2005, in the U.S. House of Representatives.
- Note the use of the acronym G.A.S. Act, as well as the ever-present employment of the phrase America's Security.
Vote Held Open
On October 7, 2005, the "House leadership held the five-minute vote open for almost 50 minutes until they could convince three lawmakers — Reps. Wayne Gilcrest (R-MD), C.W. Bill Young (R-FL) and Jim Gerlach (R-PA) — to change their minds. The bill passed 212-210. As the vote concluded, opponents of the bill chanted in unity: 'Shame, Shame, Shame!'"
- Think Progress has the C-SPAN video (QT link via Crooks and Liars website.) Both QT and WMP links from CNN on BradBlog website.
Scope of the Bill
The "sweeping new energy bill that provides a variety of incentives for refinery construction and operations, ... also reduces the number of automotive fuel blends to six, outlines new federal regulatory authority for oil pipeline construction and oversight of offshore pipeline systems, and institutes federal investigations on gasoline price gouging and futures trading." 
Amendment and Roll Call
- Alternative to H. Res. 3893 (Stupak-Boucher Amendment) -- "Federal Response to Energy Emergencies Act of 2005", October 7, 2005.
- Roll Call on H. Res. 3893, October 7, 2005.
- Roll Call on Stupak-Boucher Amendment, October 7, 2005.
- H. Res. 481 --Providing for consideration of the bill (H.R. 3893) to expedite the construction of new refining capacity in the United States, to provide reliable and affordable energy for the American people, and for other purposes," introduced October 6, 2005, by Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart [FL-21] without co-sponsors and passed in the House on October 7, 2005.
- 1 Passage of the Bill, October 7, 2005
- 2 Draft of Proposed Legislation
- 2.1 Reactions About the Proposed Legislation
- 2.2 Support for the Legislation
- 3 Related SourceWatch Resources
- 4 External links
Passage of the Bill, October 7, 2005
- "How A Bill Becomes a Law: By Congressman Joe Barton," DCCC.org, October 6, 2005.
- Chris Baltimore, "House narrowly approves bill to help US refineries," Reuters, October 7, 2005.
- "Pelosi: Republican Energy Bill Fails to Address Price Gouging, Fails to Bring Down Prices, Fails to Put America on Road to Energy Independence," US Newswire (Yahoo! News), October 7, 2005.
- David Edwards, "VIDEO: Dems Chant 'Shame! Shame!' as GOP Bullies House Vote. Vote Held Open Until Republicans Received Margin of Victory, Then Promptly Shut Down! Congresswoman: 'An unethical subversion of our democracy'," BradBlog, October 7, 2005.
- "Shame," The Stakeholder, October 7, 2005.
- "GOP Pushes Through Refinery Bill," CBS News/Associated Press, October 7, 2005.
- H. Josef Hebert, "House Passes Bill to Boost Refineries," Associated Press (ABC News), October 7, 2005: "But Democrats, joined by some GOP moderates, called the bill a sop to rich oil companies that would do nothing to ease energy costs that include heating bills expected to soar this winter."
- "Pain at the pump, Profits in the boardroom," Center for American Progress, October 7, 2005.
Draft of Proposed Legislation
The "Discussion Draft" of the Gasoline for America's Security Act of 2005 H. Res. 3893 I.H. was released late Friday night, September 23, 2005, was introduced on September 26, 2005, and "scheduled for a markup" by the Committee on Wednesday morning, September 28, 2005. 
Reactions About the Proposed Legislation
From a Democratic List Serve
The bill's proposals include: 
- "assured payments to builders of new refineries that cannot start operation because of federal delays or litigation."
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) "to initiate a rulemaking that could loosen New Source Review requirements not only on refineries but also on other energy-related facilities such as power plants and compressor stations."
- "Barton's Clean Air Act 'bump up' provisions that the Senate rejected during late negotiations [of] the energy bill that was signed into law Aug. 8."
- "repeals the law's 'refinery revitalization' language. In its place is language giving the Energy Department lead agency authority over refinery licensing, requiring the president to designate areas on federal lands -- including closed military bases -- for future refinery sites."
- "authorizes the energy secretary and EPA administrator to provide financial and coordination assistance to state governments wanting to site, build, expand or operate any refineries in their states."
Clean Air Watch
Barton is "obviously using the hurricanes as a pretext to jam through the unrelated bump-up provisions that he couldn't slip through in the last energy bill, as well as to launch an attack on the Clean Air Act's New Source Review provisions," Frank O'Donnell, head of Clean Air Watch, said over the weekend (September 24-25, 2005).
"Refinery provisions Besides the CAA provisions and the language granting DOE lead agency status for refinery siting and permitting, the bill provides the industry with standby support similar to what Congress gave the nuclear power industry in the recently passed energy bill.
"For the refineries, this allows the Energy secretary to enter into firm contracts with non-federal entities to build new refineries or to refurbish and return to commercial operation existing but nonoperating refineries. If delays in the startup of a completed refinery are the result of litigation or federal agency regulatory failures out of control of the entity, the secretary would pay damages to the applicant from a new Treasury account."
National League of Cities
Although being "hailed as a post-Katrina package," the proposed draft legislation "masks attempts to dismantle environmental laws that are not barriers to rebuilding the affected Gulf states," Donald J. Borut, executive director of the National League of Cities (NLC) said. Borut said that "the goal of this draft legislation seems to be to pass every provision that didn't make it into the recently-enacted energy bill."
The proposed legislation was scheduled for markup on September 28th "without a single hearing on any of the provisions in the bill," NLC reported. "After a review of the proposed draft legislation," NLC officials "have identified several provisions that would preempt state and local land-use authority, while doing nothing to spur economic recovery following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita."
For example, NLC has expressed concerns about
- "timing of the bill"
- "lack of public hearings"
- "federal government [will be] the final decision maker regarding the siting of refineries and crude oil or refined petroleum pipelines, without the benefit of environmental impact studies, local land use concerns or local public hearings."
- "all court cases over siting issues [will] be heard in the District of Columbia Court of Appeals-not the state or local circuit courts."
- "change current Clean Air Act requirements"
Additionally, NLC believes "that provisions in the proposed legislation regarding reformulated gasoline are back-door attempts at invalidating state laws banning the use of methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), a known carcinogen," Borut said.
United States Conference of Mayors
"On behalf of the nation's mayors, The United States Conference of Mayors is appalled and shocked that Congress is moving to mark up a proposal put forth by Energy and Commerce Chairman Joe Barton (TX) without input from the nation's mayors or discussions with other public stakeholders," Conference Executive Director Tom Cochran said September 28, 2005.
"While we support Congress' efforts to address the nation's energy challenges, we adamantly oppose at this critical time in the nation's history any move to strip state and local governments of their authority," Cochran said.
"It is imperative," Cochran said, "that Members of Congress hear from cities that would be directly affected by any changes to laws that preempt state and local authority. ... Local-elected leaders take this issue very seriously. We strongly urge Congress to consider the expertise of state and local officials in devising energy policy to rebuild the costal communities impacted by Hurricane Katrina."
Environmental Council of the States
In a September 27, 2005, statement, R. Steven Brown, Executive Director of the Environmental Council of the States (ECOS) wrote that modifications to new source review rules "should be informed by the state entities that have managed these sources and understand the range of practical, economic methodologies to improve air emissions" and that "[we] should not allow backsliding on these long-term programs and goals unless and to the extent necessary to overcome what will hopefully be a short-term, though significant, energy need." Additionally, he wrote, "It is critical that States’ ability to issue permits and to provide vital environmental protection services are not hindered."
National Environmental Trust
- "The hubris here is really shocking. Using the twin tragedies of Katrina and Rita to push through a massive rewriting of the public health protections of the Clean Air Act is the height of cynical exploitation. Washington hasn't seen overreaching like this since Newt Gingrich's 1995 Republican meltdown."
Support for the Legislation
National Petrochemical & Refiners Association
NPRA's President Bob Slaughter commented:
- "Chairman Barton has proposed far-reaching legislation that seeks by various means to
- "increase U.S. refining and pipeline capacity"
- "yield additional fuel supplies"
- "foster energy conservation"
- require the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) "both to study gasoline market behavior in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and review NYMEX prices"
- expand Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) capacity
- "NPRA commends Chairman Barton's continuing interest in obtaining additional U.S. refining capacity and increasing fuel supplies. We share the Chairman's interest in these important policy objectives, and are looking forward to working with him as the Committee and full House considers this proposal. As that process continues, we will show special concern for maintaining energy policy reliance on free market mechanisms as the best and most efficient way to balance the supply and demand of energy products and to encourage refinery capacity additions."
Related SourceWatch Resources
- oil industry
- Natural Resources Defense Council
- Operation Offset
- Rebuilding the Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Katrina: domestic policy initiatives
- Thomas D. DeLay
- "The U.S. Petroleum Refining and Gasoline Marketing Industry" and "U.S. Refinery Operations" (weekly, monthly, and annual data) posted by U.S. Department of Energy.
- "Tom's Tainted Team. An analysis of House Members who side with DeLay and MTBE special interests over their constituents," League of Conservation Voters, April 21, 2005.
- Also see SourceWatch's peak oil and peak oil: we have oil for numerous background articles.
Documents, Legislation & News Releases: Bush Administration
- "The Legislative Record. Environment & The 106th Congress," Natural Resources Defense Council.
- Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality: Hearings and Markups, House Committee on Energy and Commerce, 107th Congress (2001-2002).
- Archive of Energy-related Legislation for the 108th Congress (2003). Links posted by Sustainable Energy Institute.
- H. R. 4517: To provide incentives to increase refinery capacity in the United States," 108th Congress, 2d Session. Bill introduced by Rep. Joe Linus Barton (R-TX), June 4, 2004.
- "The Gasoline Price Reduction Act of 2004" H. R. 4545: "To amend the Clean Air Act to reduce the proliferation of boutique fuels, and for other purposes," Congress.org. Sponsored by Roy Blunt (R-MO), Mark Green (R-WI), Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI), and Paul Ryan (R-WI). Bill failed on the floor of the House of Representatives, June 16, 2004.
- Energy Policy Act of 2005 in the Wikipedia.
- Bills regarding "Gasoline" and "Reformulated Gasoline" links posted by GovTrack.US.
- Fact Sheet: "I Don’t Want My MTBE: GOP Protects Fuel Additive Manufacturers Despite Drinking Water Contamination," Public Citizen, May 2005.
- Press Release: "House-Senate Conferees Finalize Barton’s Energy Bill," Office of Congressman Joe Barton, July 26, 2005.
- "Energy Bill Advanced by House-Senate Conference Committee," Environment News Service, July 27, 2005.
- Statement: Rep. Joe Linus Barton (R-TX): "Conference Report on H.R. 6, Energy Policy Act of 2005," July 28, 2005 (posted by Project Vote Smart).
- Statement: Rep. Joe Linus Barton (R-TX): "President Signs Energy Policy Act of 2005," August 8, 2005 (posted by Project Vote Smart).
- Public Statement: Rep. Joe Linus Barton (R-TX): "Conference Report on H.R. 6, Energy Policy Act of 2005," September 7, 2005 (posted by Project Vote Smart).
- "Oil Producers Exporting of Heating Oil to Drive Up Price; Bush Called on to Stop Exports, Deal With Exporting in Barton Bill," U.S. Newswire, October 6, 2005.
- "Lawmakers to Make Statements on High Energy Costs; Legislators Opposing GAS Act Chart Real Solutions To Rising Energy Prices Oct. 7," U.S. Newswire, October 6, 2005.
Articles & Commentary
- Neela Banerjee, "Gasoline Prices Said to Have Bush Weighing Quicker Action," New York Times, May 16, 2001.
- "House of Representatives Takes Action on Boutique Fuels," NACS Online, June 16, 2004.
- "Refinery Revitalization Act is a Hoax: Rolling back clean air protections will not protect consumers from high gasoline prices," U.S. PIRG, July 15, 2004: "Under the guise of consumer protection from skyrocketing gas prices, Congressman Barton’s Refinery Revitalization Act of 2004 (H.R. 4517) would make it easier for oil companies to skirt public health laws when they build new refineries and expand old ones, but don’t be fooled! Sacrificing clean air protections means that consumers will breathe dirtier air; it will not shield them from rising gasoline prices."
- Frank O'Donnell, "Polluter-Friendly Energy," Tom Paine.Common Sense, April 20, 2005.
- "US lawmakers rule out short-term fixes to ease gasoline pain," Agence France Presse (Yahoo! News), September 6, 2005.
- Juliet Eilperin, "Protection For Fuel Additive Dropped. Makers of MTBE Lose GOP Backing," Washington Post, July 27, 2005: "Barton originally wanted total legal protection for MTBE manufacturers ..."
- News Release: "Barton Releases Discussion Draft Of Refinery Bill," Committee on Energy and Commerce, Joe Barton, Chairman, U.S. House of Representatives, September 26, 2005.
- Chris Baltimore, "Congress must act to aid US refining capacity-Bush," Reuters (Boston Globe), September 26, 2005: "Joe Barton, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, is writing legislation that would encourage building about 2 million bpd refining capacity, including new plants and expansions."
- Carola Hoyos, Sheila McNulty, and Thomas Catan, "Rita causes record damage to oil rigs," Financial Times, September 27, 2005.
- News Release: "Local Land Use Goes Out the Window in Proposed Oil Industry Bail Out, According to Officials from National League of Cities," US Newswire, September 27, 2005.
- Statement of the United States Conference of Mayors Executive Director Tom Cochran on Barton Energy Bill, US Newswire, September 28, 2005.
- H. Joseph Hebert, "House GOP Push to Ease Environmental Rules," Washington Post, September 28, 2005: "Environmentalists and state and local officials on Tuesday accused sponsors of the legislation of exploiting the hurricane devastation and public fears about rising energy costs to push through pro-industry measures that, in the end, will be environmentally harmful."
- "National Environmental Trust Statement on Rep. Barton's Back-Door Repeal of the Core of the Clean Air Act," US Newswire, September 28, 2005.
- "Clean Air Watch Warns House Energy Bill Is Biggest Clean Air Act Weakening in History," US Newswire, September 29, 2005.