March 24, 2004
One of the significant ways that the Energy Bill ensures the country's economic future is by developing energy resources in the United States, particularly in the State of Alaska. Senator Stevens strongly reminded the Senate that developing our natural resources ensures the nation's safety due to our significant dependence on foreign oil, double the dependence since the oil embargo of the 1970s.
"American citizens and businesses rely on our ability to stabilize energy prices and provide them with the energy resources they need," said Stevens, "and now in the post 9/11 world, our energy development and production has taken on an additional level of importance our national security is dependent upon our ability to decrease our reliance on foreign energy sources."
Senator Stevens reminded the Senate that in addition to the country's dependence on foreign oil, high energy prices are acting as a consumer tax, leaving Americans with less disposable income for travel, home buying, restaurants, retail establishments and daily living. Stevens called attention to record-high gasoline prices. Gasoline prices have increased over 10 percent since January.
"The prices are an additional constraint on consumer spending power for every one cent increase at the pump, we see $1 billion in lost consumer spending," said Stevens.
In addition to reminding the Senate that passing the Energy Bill would increase domestic supplies, encourage energy conservation, stabilize energy prices, bring certainty to American energy policy for our businesses and consumers, Stevens also pointed out that the bill contains provisions to increase oil and gas exploration and development which would create hundreds of thousands of jobs, particularly through the Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline.
"This bill is also a jobs bill - it will create more than 800,000 new jobs. Many of those jobs will be the result of a major component of this energy bill - the authorization for the Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline," state Stevens.
According to Stevens, authorization of the Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline will generate over 400,000 new jobs, including 7,000 construction jobs, thousands of manufacturing jobs necessary to create equipment, and thousands of infrastructure jobs.
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