Solutions for Montana
America must become energy independent. Our reliance on foreign oil is a threat to our national security, and to our pocket books. Gasoline prices are too high. To lower gasoline prices, I am committed to increasing our energy production here in the United States.
The challenges of rising oil prices, dependence on foreign energy, and climate change are significant, but with the ingenuity of hardworking Montanans, I know we are more than up to the task. I am doing my part to make sure Montana plays a leading role in securing our country's energy independence.
Securing our Energy Independence
I'm proud that we in Montana are doing our part to increase domestic oil production. I have been very supportive of the development of the Bakken Oil Formation, which, at 3.6 billion barrels, is the largest oil field discovered in the United States in the last 50 years. In addition, I have consistently voted in favor of drilling for oil and gas off the Gulf Coast. In light of the current oil spill in the Gulf, I believe it is appropriate for us to push the pause button and evaluate the adequacy of our safety and environmental requirements for offshore exploration and production.
Climate Change and Energy
While increasing domestic oil and gas production is an important step, we also need to develop our other energy resources further. Montana has these resources in abundance, and we are poised to become a leader in the energy industry. From wind, oil and gas to solar, biomass, biodiesel and clean coal, Montana has it all. With new clean energy technologies we can create good-paying jobs while protecting our outdoor heritage.
I am using my position as Chairman of the Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over taxes, to make sure Montana takes advantage of this opportunity. I have created numerous tax incentives designed to spur investment in the newest and cleanest energy technologies. As part of the Farm Bill, I passed the first ever tax credit for cellulosic ethanol made from wheat stalks and other feed stocks. My energy tax package would also create incentives for the capture and sequestration of carbon from coal fired power plants, and an extension of the production tax credit that helped get the Judith Gap wind farm off the ground.
One of the simplest ways to confront our energy problem is to conserve our existing resources by using them more wisely and efficiently. That is why, in December of 2007, I helped pass the first increase to Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE, standards in over 30 years. By 2020, this provision will reduce our dependence on foreign oil by 1.7 million barrels per day, and save consumers over $25 billion annually on their gas bills.