Supplying Energy: A Promising Bill

By May 25, 2007Energy

Sen. James Inhofe, R-OK, looks at high gas prices and rather than pound the table in feigned fury offers thoughtful legislation to increase fuel supplies, the Gas PRICE Act.

“Today’s Gas Price Act will increase domestic fuel supplies in several significant ways. Importantly, my bill redefines and broadens our understanding of a ‘refinery’ to include a ‘domestic fuels facility.’ Oil has been and will continue to play a major role in the US economy, but the future of our domestic transportation fuels system must also include new sources of energy such as ultra-clean syn-fuels derived from coal and cellulosic ethanol derived from home grown grasses and biomass.

The Gas PRICE Act improves the permitting process for the expansion of existing and construction of new domestic fuels facilities, as well as encourages economically distressed communities to consider siting ultra-clean syn-fuels and cellulosic ethanol refineries in their towns. The public demands more supplies but they also demand that they be clean. My bill establishes an EPA program assessing the use of these ultra-clean syn-fuels as a pollution control strategy. Last, in order for there to be a viable cellulosic biofuel market, stakeholders and the public must know exactly what our renewable fuel reserves potentially may be. This legislation requires a task force to determine just that.

The syn-fuels facilities he hopes to encourage include coal liquefaction, a process that holds great potential in using America’s most abundant energy resources.

Inhofe’s floor statement is here, and the Enid News & Eagle reports on the legislation here.

Promising stuff, certainly more productive that threatening people with ill-defined crime of “price gouging” — threats that quickly translate into market-distorting, supply-strangling price controls.

UDPATE (Saturday, 2:50): In a related development:

BISMARK, N.D.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Three companies exploring development of a North Dakota coal-based refinery to produce ultra clean liquid transportation fuels and electricity have now established a single company, American Lignite Energy, to evaluate the project. Partners in American Lignite Energy include Headwaters Energy Services, Great River Energy, and The North American Coal Corporation.

During the past several months, the American Lignite Energy partners have completed several preliminary engineering, environmental and market studies that indicate North Dakota could be an outstanding location for a coal-to-liquids facility. Although this is a very large development with many uncertainties, the partners are confident that the project warrants additional investigation because of its significant potential. Therefore, the partners are forming American Lignite Energy and are commencing more detailed engineering activities to further their analysis.