Some lawmakers suggest extra legislation be added to Energy Bill

| 9/6/2005

Less than a month after President Bush signed the sprawling $12.3 billion Energy Bill into law, House Republicans are already discussing a second energy bill to curb rising fuel costs and expand U.S. oil refineries.

According to Congressional Quarterly, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-TX, and House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, R-IL, are suggesting additional legislation that would aid in the construction of more refineries, which in turn would hopefully lower retail fuel and gas prices.

The move comes a little more than a week after Hurricane Katrina lambasted the Gulf States, causing the closure of eight refineries and a number of oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.

“We may be looking at doing another energy bill of some sort,” DeLay told Reuters after a meeting with fellow Republicans to discuss the issue.

Although the signed 1,724-page Energy Bill did provide some incentives for energy conservation and the use of alternative energy sources, critics said it did little to increase domestic fuel production or limit demand for foreign oil.

“Unfortunately, House Republicans working on the final version of the bill rejected the provisions that would have led us towards energy independence, and I will not support this version of the bill,” House Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV, told The AP during debate on the original bill. “I believe we have missed an incredible opportunity to establish a renewable electricity standard, provide help to consumers facing record prices at the gas pump, and most importantly, to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.”

No new oil refineries have been built in the United States since the early 1980s, The Associated Press reported.