Isakson Votes to Address Challenges of Energy Supply, High Gas Prices

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., today voted in favor of two amendments aimed at combating the significant increases in gas and oil prices and their effects on the American economy and on the family budget.

Isakson praised the Senate’s passage of an amendment that would require the U.S. Department of Energy to halt deposits of domestic crude oil into the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve as long as the price of crude oil remains above $75 per barrel. The amendment, which required 60 votes to pass, was approved by a vote of 97 to 1.

“There are no quick fixes in dealing with this issue, but there are things the federal government can and must do,” Isakson said. “Temporarily halting deposits to the reserve sends the signal to the global market that the United States will take measures to address excessive oil prices.”

Isakson expressed disappointment in the Senate’s failure to approve an amendment that aimed to lower the cost of energy and enhance U.S. energy security by increasing our nation’s domestic supply. The amendment, which required 60 votes to pass, failed by a vote of 42 to 56.

"Given our dependence on foreign energy in this country, it is critical for us to consider the development of our untapped domestic energy supplies,” Isakson said. “With skyrocketing gas prices, we must seek every way possible to increase the domestic production of energy.”

Specifically, it would have amended the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to establish projected state lines by extending boundaries seaward to the outer margin of the Outer Continental Shelf for the purpose of pre-leasing and leasing activities in new producing areas.

The amendment would have established a competitive oil and gas leasing program for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge’s Coastal Plain under the Mineral Leasing Act. It would also have amended the “Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007” to strike the definition of renewable biomass and replace it with Senate-passed definition. This is critically important to ensuring that the emerging cellulosic ethanol industry is able to take advantage of all sources of cellulosic biomass.

The amendments were offered as part of a flood insurance bill that passed by a vote of 92 to 6.