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Ryan Votes for Legislation to Boost America’s Refining Capacity

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June 08, 2006 | Kate Matus ((202) 226-7326) | comments
WASHINGTON – First District Congressman Paul Ryan yesterday evening voted for legislation to help reduce America’s dependence on imported gasoline by addressing bureaucratic delays in the refinery permitting process and making it easier to add fuel refining capacity. The legislation – H.R. 5254, the Refinery Permit Process Schedule Act – passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 238-179. 

“It has been 30 years since a new refinery has been built in the U.S., and today we have to import refined gasoline from other nations just to meet the daily demand for gas. This makes us dependent on foreign sources not only for crude oil, but also the finished product, and it adds to the high cost of gas at the pump. By making it easier to build new refineries in the U.S., we can decrease our dependence on energy imports and help bring down fuel costs,” Ryan said. 

While some refineries have expanded, no new refinery has been constructed in the United States since 1976. There are 148 operating refineries in the United States, down from 324 in 1981. Total capacity at operating refineries is roughly 17 million barrels per day, while total U.S. demand averages nearly 21 million barrels per day. This growing gap is met by an increasing level of imports of refined products from foreign sources. 

The Refinery Permit Process Schedule Act would help reduce dependence on imports through the following actions:
  • Directs the President to appoint a federal coordinator to manage the multi-agency permitting process. Working with the governor of the state where the refinery is proposed, the coordinator will begin by identifying and then convening all agencies involved with issuing permits to coordinate the schedules. This brings all federal and state agencies together to make it easier to add fuel refining capacity and eliminates needless bureaucratic delay in the permitting process for new or expanded gasoline, biofuel or distillate-processing facilities. 

  • Gives the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) priority in the scheduling coordination, preserving the strict environmental standards that must be met for these facilities to be developed.

  • Directs the President to suggest at least three closed military bases as suitable sites for new refineries, one of which must be designated for biofuel refining, while preserving local authority to make final siting decisions on closed bases. 

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