19 March 2007 19:35 [Source: ICIS news]
Senator Byron Dorgan (Democrat-North Dakota) said that “The energy issue is one of the most significant issues confronting this Congress, and we have a responsibility now - now that people realise how vulnerable we are in our dependence on foreign oil - we have a responsibility to do some significant things in energy policy”.
Access to US offshore gas reserves is of critical importance to US chemicals manufacturers who are dependent on natural gas as a feedstock.
Dorgan is chairman of the Energy Subcommittee of the Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and he also chairs the Energy and Water Subcommittee on the Senate Appropriations Committee, so he is well-positioned to influence what energy legislation comes out of the Senate this year.
“I believe we should open up more of our resources in the US Gulf,” Dorgan told a press conference. “I also believe in doing an inventory of the prohibited areas,” he said, referring to areas in the eastern US Gulf and along the
Dorgan indicated that new energy legislation from the Democrat-controlled Congress will include more requirements and incentives for energy efficiency - especially in automotive engine fuel economy - and conservation, but that energy legislation also must include more oil and gas production.
In legislation Dorgan has already introduced, a large portion of the eastern US Gulf would be opened to drilling. “There will be opposition to this,” he said, noting that
“But in order to have a balanced approach, you have to conserve more, you have to produce more, and you have to do a lot of things,” he said.
“It seems to me that the proposal we have offered for additional production in the Gulf is where the greatest resources are available” and beyond the sight of
“I am interested in protecting our beaches and I believe we can protect our beaches even as we allow additional production down in the Gulf,” he said.
He noted that there was no significant environmental damage done during the 2005 double hurricane hits along the US Gulf coast where most
“My own view is, you’ll discover that offshore drilling has been done in a manner that safeguards our environment,” he said.
He predicted that the Senate Energy Committee “will pass legislation that reflects the growing urgency about the difficulties here in our country with respect to energy”.
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