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Gas over $4/Gallon: Kirk and Dold Call for Development of Domestic Energy/Renewable Resources

Four New Policies to Lower Gas Prices

Monday, Apr 18, 2011

CHICAGO-With Chicagoland's gas prices over $4 a gallon, U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) called today for the development of renewable and domestic sources of energy, including exploration of New Albany shale in the Illinois Basin.

"The solution to sky high energy costs is to develop new sources of energy," Senator Kirk said. "Self-sufficiency starts at home. Illinois is rich in domestic energy resources like natural gas, coal, wind, and nuclear power. We need to tap into our domestic resources to end our nation's depending on foreign oil."

"Our economy is in a fragile state and the rising price of foreign oil is threatening an economic recovery," said U.S. Rep. Robert Dold (R-Winnetka). "Higher fuel prices saddle business with higher transportation costs, causing them to pass those new costs along to already cash-strapped customers. As fuel costs go up, consumers are left with less money to spend elsewhere. We have an energy deficit in this country. To turn around our economy's dependence on foreign oil, I am committed to taking an all-of-the-above approach to increasing domestic energy production."



According to Gasbuddy.com, Illinois is a "hotspot" for high gas prices


Kirk's Four Key Policies to Lower Gas Prices

New Policy Challenge
Permanent tax credit for renewables Renewable credits expire by 2013
Explore for energy in Gulf Most projects stalled
End boutique fuel gas monopolies Federal regulations mandate monopolies
Tap New Albany gas in Illinois    Technology just coming onlin

Oddone/Ustian Energy Advisory Board

Senator Kirk will establish an Energy Advisory Board to advance policies to end dependence on foreign oil and develop American energy and conservation, including the advancement of state-of-the-art, clean-coal projects like FutureGen in western Illinois.

Daniel C. Ustian, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Navistar International Corp., and Pier Oddone, Director of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, will serve as co-chairs.

"I am honored to be asked to serve on Senator Kirk's Energy Advisory Board," Ustian said. "At Navistar, we have focused on a variety of energy efficient and alternate fuel technologies ranging from advanced aerodynamics, hybrids, plug-in hybrids, electric vehicles, and dual fuel engines that run on both diesel and liquefied natural gas. I look forward to helping Senator Kirk work with industry and government exploring these sorts of energy-efficient options with 21st Century technologies that have helped make Navistar an industry leader in the field."

"In the years ahead, alternative energy exploration will bring a revolution in the way we think about everything from moving vehicles to lighting our homes," Oddonne said. "It is a privilege to join Senator Kirk's effort to be at the forefront of 21st Century thinking."


1. Make Production Tax Credits for Clean, Renewable Fuel Permanent

Production Tax Credits approved by Congress can tip the market in favor of clean, renewable American energy. Unfortunately, Congress limits these tax credits to only a few years.

Production Tax Credit            Expires

Wind                                       2012

Solar                                       2013

Hydro                                      2013

Munic Solid Waste                 2013

Geothermal                            2013

Biomass                                 2013

Wave/Tidal                              2013

Congress should send a continuous green light to America's inventors by making these tax credits permanent. Green power industry leaders would then be able to skip fundraisers for members of Congress on key committees and focus their attention on building clean, renewable American energy.

2. New Illinois Energy to Be Tapped

Senator Kirk said the New Albany shale deposits in the Illinois Basin are among ripe targets for research.

Researchers estimate 86 trillion cubic feet of natural gas could be located in the Illinois Basin, which covers roughly 60,000 square miles in much of Illinois, southwestern Indiana and western Kentucky.

While all three states have a rich history of oil drilling in the Illinois Basin, exploration of New Albany Shale is limited-until recently. Indiana and Kentucky took advantage of the development of breakthrough technologies that allow energy companies to access and produce natural gas from "unconventional reservoirs" like shale. "Unconventional uses" of natural gas could include fueling automobiles.

"Gas prices for residents of Illinois reflect our need to focus on a national energy policy that gets us away from foreign oil, incentivizes development of renewable energy, and establishes bridge energy-options like natural gas that are both domestic and affordable," Senator Kirk said.

3. Eliminate Defacto Gasoline Monopolies That Hurt Illinois Economy

Senator Kirk also opposes the creation of defacto gasoline monopolies, created by federal regulation. Federal regulations divided the gas market into 17 small monopolies, all with their own recipe of gasoline. In Chicagoland, drivers are allowed to only buy "Chi-Mi

N/RFG" gas. This ‘boutique' fuel policy creates monopolies and high fuel prices. Kirk joined U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) to back legislation that would suspend ‘boutique' fuel standards in times of natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina. The bill, the "Gas Accessibility and Stabilization (GAS) Act," is now pending as a Senate amendment to S. 493 currently being debated on the Senate floor.

Federal regulations have balkanized the gas market into 17 separate territories, creating defacto monopolies that cause higher prices

4. More U.S. Supply - Exploring for American Energy in the Gulf of Mexico

Senator Kirk also said he hopes bipartisan legislation to speed up the drilling permit process in the Gulf of Mexico will be approved in Congress soon. Last week, the House Natural Resources Committee approved H.R. 1229, the "Putting the Gulf Back to Work Act," sponsored by U.S. Rep. Hastings (R-Wash.), who chairs the House Natural Resources Committee.

The reform measure, filed in response to complaints that resumption of oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico is hampered by protracted delays in the permitting process, would set a definitive time line for the Interior Department to act on permits.

Despite "End" to Moratorium, Most Projects Still on Hold

The measure also requires safety reviews to ensure that proposed drilling operations "meet all critical safety system requirements, including blowout prevention, and oil spill response and containment requirements."

"The moratorium on off-shore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, which was imposed following last year's oil-rig explosion off the Louisiana coast, was lifted nearly six months ago, but thousands of people who bank on off-shore drilling to make ends meet are still out of work due to unnecessary government bureaucracy," Senator Kirk said.

"This common sense legislation would help unlock our energy resources in order to lower energy costs, create good-paying jobs, and strengthen our national security," Congressman Dold said.





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