Merkley, Carper, Tom Udall, and Bennet Introduce Oil Independence Bill for a Stronger America

Washington, D.C.
– U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley, Tom Carper, Tom Udall, and Michael Bennet introduced legislation today to achieve American oil independence, strengthen national security, and create jobs.  The Oil Independence for a Stronger America Act will set into law the goal of achieving independence from overseas oil in the next 20 years and a specific plan for achieving it.  By committing America to developing a robust clean energy economy, the legislation would create new jobs while eliminating the national security vulnerability posed by dependence on oil from overseas to run the economy.

“America’s dependence on oil from the Middle East, Nigeria, and Venezuela makes us increasingly vulnerable to economic and national security risks,” Merkley said.  “American entrepreneurs and workers have the ingenuity and grit necessary to break this addiction to foreign oil – the challenge is whether politicians in Washington are willing to choose American strength over vulnerability.”

“I am proud to join Senator Merkley in introducing much needed legislation that sets an ambitious, but attainable, goal of eliminating all oil imports from outside of North America by 2030,” Carper said.  “The bill we are introducing today provides a comprehensive strategy to reduce oil consumption by improving energy efficiency and increasing the use of clean, renewable energy sources. Because transportation consumes 70 percent of our oil consumption, we need policies that will provide a cleaner, greener transportation fleet. That’s why I am pleased this bill takes important steps forward to increase vehicle efficiency standards and includes my CLEAN TEA legislation to provide Americans with a practical alternative to using their cars, trucks, and vans for every trip.  These are just two examples of the strategies contained in this bill that will help us end oil imports from outside North America by 2030. Senator Merkley, Tom Udall, and I will fight to include the Oil Independence for a Strong America Act of 2010 in upcoming energy legislation.”  

“Our dangerous dependence on foreign oil threatens our economic, environmental and national security.  I am proud to join with Senators Merkley and Carper to introduce legislation that would help turn this global threat into a national opportunity,” Udall said.  “With our bill, we will take control of our energy future from special interests and foreign powers through the development of clean energy resources, by increasing energy efficiency, and by creating the jobs of the future here in the United States.”

To eliminate the nation’s reliance on foreign imports from non-North American countries by 2030, the bill includes steps to ramp up production and use of electric vehicles, increase travel options and improve infrastructure, develop alternative transportation fuels and reduce the use of oil to heat buildings.

The Oil Independence for a Stronger America Act also would create a National Council on Energy Security to ensure a sustained focus on reducing the use of oil.  The Council, housed in the White House, would be charged with making recommendations to the President and Congress to ensure America has a focused strategic plan for energy independence and with aligning the actions of various federal agencies.

This year, more than two-thirds of America’s oil imports will come from nations that too often do not share our goals or values.  This dependence on overseas oil costs our nation a billion dollars per day that could be used here at home.  It also prevents the United States from fully investing in home-grown American clean energy and undermines efforts to reduce pollution in our air and water.

The Oil Independence for a Stronger America Act would reduce oil consumption in the U.S. by over 8 million barrels per day by 2030, enough to end the need for oil imports from beyond North America.

Reducing oil consumption is the only way to break America’s national security and economic vulnerability to hostile countries and groups, geopolitical instability, and natural disasters posed by overseas oil.  Increasing domestic drilling will not solve the problem, since the United States only has 3 percent of oil reserves, yet uses 25 percent of all oil.  The Department of Energy has estimated that opening up offshore drilling on both coasts would only lower the price of gasoline by three cents per gallon by 2030.  Moreover, domestic drilling is not without risks, as the ongoing BP oil well catastrophe has shown.

The Oil Independence for a Stronger America Act will put into law the plan for American oil independence Senator Merkley laid out in June.  Details of the plan can be found here: