[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: George W. Bush (2007, Book II)]
[December 19, 2007]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]
Remarks on Signing the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007
December 19, 2007
Thank you all. Please be seated. Mr. Secretary, thank you for that introduction. We're all pleased to be
here at the Department of Energy. I particularly want to thank the
employees here for their daily efforts to help our country meet its
energy needs. Thanks for your hard work. Sam, thank you for your
As Sam mentioned, I firmly believe this
country needs to have a comprehensive energy strategy, and I appreciate
the Members of Congress for understanding that as well. Two years ago, I
was pleased to stand with Members--many of whom are here--to sign a bill
that was the first major energy security legislation in more than a
decade. At the time, I recognized that we needed to go even further. And
so in my State of the Union, I proposed an aggressive plan to reduce oil
consumption of gasoline by 20 percent over 10 years.
Today we make a major step with the Energy Independence and Security
Act. We make a major step toward reducing our dependence on oil,
confronting global climate change, expanding the production of renewable
fuels, and giving future generations of our country a nation that is
stronger, cleaner, and more secure.
I do welcome members of the Cabinet who've joined us. I particularly
want to thank the Speaker and the
leader. I appreciate your leadership on this
important issue. Speaker Pelosi is here with Congressman Steny Hoyer,
House majority leader. Welcome, Mr. Leader. Leader Reid has brought Members of the Senate with him: Senator
Inouye, Senator Bingaman, Senator Stevens--I think that's Senator Domenici there in disguise with a--[laughter]. Looking
pretty handsome, isn't he? I appreciate Congressman Dingell and Congressman Markey, Congressman Gordon.
These are all leaders on their respective committees that helped bring
this bill to my desk. I also want to welcome all the other Members of
Congress who've joined us.
One of the most serious long-term challenges facing our country is
dependence on oil, especially oil from foreign lands. It's a serious
challenge. And Members of Congress up here understand the challenge, and
so do I. Because this dependence harms us economically through high and
volatile prices at the gas pump, dependence creates pollution and
contributes to greenhouse gas admissions. It threatens our national
security by making us vulnerable to hostile regimes in unstable regions
of the world. It makes us vulnerable to terrorists who might attack oil
The legislation I am signing today will address our vulnerabilities
and our dependence in two important ways. First, it will increase the
supply of alternative fuel sources. I proposed an alternative fuel
standard earlier this year. This standard would require fuel producers
to include a certain amount of alternative fuels in their products. This
standard would create new markets for foreign products used to produce
these fuels. This standard would increase our energy security by making
us less vulnerable to instability, to the instability of oil prices on
the world market.
The bill I sign today takes a significant step because it will
require fuel producers to use at least 36 billion gallons of biofuel in
2022. This is nearly a fivefold increase over current levels. It will
help us diversify our energy supplies and reduce our dependence on oil.
It's an important part of this legislation, and I thank the Members of
Congress for your wisdom.
Second, the legislation also--will also reduce our demand for oil by
increasing fuel economy standards. Last January, I called for the first
statutory increase in fuel economy standards for automobiles since they
were enacted in 1975. The bill I'm about to sign delivers on that
request. It specifies a national standard of 35 miles per gallon by
2020, which will increase fuel economy standards by 40 percent and save
billions of gallons of fuel. This bill also includes an important reform
that I believe is essential to making sure that we realize this
strategy. It allows the Department of Transportation to issue what are
known as attribute-based standards, which will assure that increased
fuel efficiency does not come at the expense of automobile safety. This
is an important part of this bill, and again, I thank the Members for
taking the lead.
The bill also includes revisions to improve energy efficiency in
lighting and appliances. It adopts elements of the Executive order I
signed requiring Federal Agencies to lead by example in efficiency and
renewable energy use.
Taken together, all these measures will help us improve our
environment. It is estimated that these initiatives could reduce
projected CO2 emissions by billions of metric tons. The U.N.
climate change meeting in Bali last week, our Nation promised to pursue
new, quantifiable actions to reduce carbon emissions. Today we're doing
just that. The legislation I'm signing today will lead to some of the
largest CO2 emission cuts in our Nation's history.
The legislation I'm about to sign should say to the American people
that we can find common ground on critical issues. And there's more we
can accomplish together. New technologies will bring about a new era of
energy. So I appreciate the fact that Congress--in the omnibus spending
bill that I'm going to sign later on--recognizes that new technologies
will help usher in a better quality of life for our citizens. And so
we're going to spend money on new research for alternative feedstocks
for ethanol. I mean, we understand the hog growers are getting nervous
because the price of corn is up. But we also believe strongly that
research will enable us to use wood chips and switchgrass and biomass to
be able to develop the ethanol necessary to help us realize the vision
outlined in this bill.
I appreciate very much the fact that we're going to fund additional
research on new battery technologies to power plug-in hybrids. We're
spending money on innovative ways to capture solar power. We're making--
providing incentives for nuclear energy. If we're serious about making
sure we grow our economy and deal with greenhouse gases, we have got to
expand nuclear power.
It is going to take time to transition to this new era. And we're
still going to need hydrocarbons. And I hope the Congress will continue
to open access to domestic energy sources: certain parts of the Outer
Continental Shelf, in ANWR. And to protect us against disruptions in our
oil supply, I ask Congress to double the current capacity of the
Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
With these steps--particularly in the bill I'm about to sign--we're
going to help American consumers a lot. We'll help them by diversifying
our supplies, which will help lower energy prices. We'll strengthen our
security by helping to break our dependence on foreign oil. We'll do our
duty to future generations by addressing climate change.
And so I thank the Members of Congress. I appreciate the fact that
we've worked together, that we can show what's possible in addressing
the big issues facing our Nation. This is a good bill, and I'm pleased
to sign it.
Note: The President spoke at 10:25 a.m. at the Department of Energy.
H.R. 6, approved December 19, was assigned Public Law No. 110-140.