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2006 Policy Positions
of the Southern Legislative Conference

1. POLICY POSITION IN SUPPORT OF FEDERAL LEGISLATION TO PROMOTE AMERICA’S ENERGY SECURITY THROUGH ALTERNATE TRANSPORTATION FUELS PRODUCED FROM DOMESTIC COAL, BIOMASS AND OIL SHALE RECOVERY


BACKGROUND

On August 29, 2005, the Southern States Energy Board (SSEB) began a study entitled “American Energy Security,” which analyzes the limitations of world oil production, the consequences of rapid growth in energy demand from “developing” nations led by China and India, and the significant vulnerabilities faced by the United States due to excessive dependence on foreign sources of oil.  The Study proposes a plan for America to establish energy security and independence beginning in 2010 by replacing 5 percent of our oil imports each year through 2030 utilizing domestically produced coal, biomass and oil shale.  The Study demonstrates that whereas world proven oil reserves equal roughly 3 trillion barrels, the United States has between 2 trillion and 4 trillion barrels of oil equivalent available today in the form of coal, biomass and oil shale.

To achieve these goals, the SSEB plan proposes the rapid deployment of large “poly-gen” energy plants utilizing gasification technologies. Long-used in the chemical industry and overseas, gasification technologies are capable of producing environmentally superior transportation fuels, industrial and pipeline-quality synthetic natural gas, zero-emissions electricity, hydrogen, chemicals for fertilizers, and enhanced oil and natural gas recovery using captured carbon dioxide, all at stable, long-term costs below the current market prices for oil and natural gas. Rapid deployment of these technologies, which would enhance current ethanol and biodiesel initiatives already underway, could completely eliminate U.S. dependence on foreign sources of oil by 2030.      

In addition to the national security benefits of this endeavor, the economic benefit to the United States of developing this new “energy manufacturing” sector would be staggering.  Recent analysis prepared for the U. S. Department of Energy concluded that rapid deployment over the next two decades of gasification technology using coal as a primary feedstock for gaseous and liquid fuels would create nearly 1.5 million new, high-paying energy manufacturing jobs in the United States, reduce our nation’s energy costs by 33 percent; and result in an aggregate GDP gain of more than $3 trillion, which increases to $4 trillion with enhanced oil recovery using recaptured carbon dioxide.

RECOMMENDATION

The Southern Legislative Conference of The Council of State Governments calls on the United States Congress to enact the legislative recommendations of the Southern States Energy Board’s American Energy Security Study, many of which are contained in the bi-partisan bill S.3325, the “Coal-to-Liquid Fuel Promotion Act of 2006.”  Immediate Congressional action is needed to accelerate the deployment and use of alternate transportation fuels produced from coal, biomass and oil shale, in order to begin to eliminate the United States’ dependence on foreign sources of oil.  Copies of this policy position shall be forwarded to members of the Southern Congressional Delegation.

 

Adopted by the Southern Legislative Conference, August 1, 2006, Louisville, Kentucky.

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