Forbes Offers New Manhattan Project for Energy Independence
The U.S. can no longer afford to allow political and economic unrest in other nations to dictate fuel costs for Americans who are already feeling economic pain. While we sit back and allow our gas prices to climb, nations like China are racing ahead in their efforts to achieve energy independence by seizing on technological innovations and making marked progress in relatively unknown areas like nuclear fusion. It is time that we make achieving energy independence a top priority for the U.S. The New Manhattan Project can help get us there. Read more
Gas Prices: Defense Energy Security
About 60% of the 7 billion barrels of oil consumed in the U.S. each year is imported from the Middle East. Learn how dependency on foreign oil impacts our national security. More...
Securing Our Energy Independence
Read about Congressman Forbes' work to keep our energy affordable, reliable, and not dependent on oil from overseas.
FAQs: Gas Prices
These frequently asked questions and answers provides resources on gas prices from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). More...
Called for approval of the Keystone XL pipeline
. Congressman Forbes supported the Northern Route Approval Act, H.R.3
, which declares that a presidential permit is not required for approval of the Keystone XL pipeline's northern route from the Canadian border through Nebraska as described in the revised proposal — which would allow that project to proceed. Under the measure, environmental impact statements issued to date would be considered sufficient to satisfy all requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Historic Preservation Act, and the Interior Department and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are deemed to have granted all the necessary permits for the pipeline to proceed. This bill passed by a vote of 241-175.
Called for action on the Keystone XL Pipeline. Congressman Forbes cosponsored the Keystone For a Secure Tomorrow Act, H.R. 334, to approve a specified project permit regarding certain energy-related facilities and land transportation crossings on the international boundaries of the United States for the Keystone XL pipeline. The permit is granted with several key stipulations, including measures to prevent or mitigate any adverse environmental impact or disruption of historic properties in connection with the construction, operation, and maintenance of the United States facilities. The permit also includes the Nebraska reroute evaluated in the Final Evaluation Report issued by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality in January 2013. Congressman Forbes also cosponsored the Northern Route Approval Act, H.R. 3, declaring that no presidential permit shall be required for the pipeline application filed by TransCanada Corporation for the northern portion of the Keystone XL pipeline. This bill considers the Nebraska re-route evaluated in August 26, 2011 State Department’s Final Environmental Impact Statement to satisfy all requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, and takes measures to comply with both the Endangered Species Act and the National Historic Preservation Act. Lastly, a Judicial Review section is included to limit the potential for claims brought against the project to delay its completion.
Called for an improved exportation process under the Natural Gas Act. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H.R.580, the Expedited LNG for American Allies Act, which quickens the application and approval process for the exportation of natural gas to a foreign country with predetermined characteristics. These specifications include: a nation with which there is in effect a free trade agreement requiring national treatment for trade in natural gas (as under existing law); a member country of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO); and any other foreign country determined by the Secretary of State to promote U.S. national security interests. The United States is one of the largest producers of natural gas in the world and is currently experiencing a surplus in production. This bill will help diversify our energy resources, bolster our energy and national security, strengthen strategic alliances, and reduce our trade deficit by creating job opportunities for American workers.
Urged the President to allow seismic testing in the Atlantic Ocean Congressman Forbes co-signed a letter encouraging the Obama Administration to complete the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to allow for safe, environmentally protective seismic assessments of the oil and natural gas resources offshore the Atlantic outer continental shelf (OCS). In the two generations since seismic testing was last conducted, technological advancements have rendered previous findings nearly irrelevant. Atlantic seismic testing enables a science-based decision making process with regard to OCS access. Congressman Forbes and other Members also called for the reconsideration of current policies prohibiting any new oil and gas leasing in the Atlantic OCS, citing the prospect of future leasing as the only incentive to making the significant investments needed to obtain Atlantic seismic data.
Sent a Letter to President Obama on the Keystone XL Pipeline. Congressman Forbes joined his colleagues in sending a letter to the President urging his administration to act expeditiously in approving the Keystone XL Pipeline. The letter explained that it has been four and a half years since the initial application was made for the pipeline. With Governor Dave Heineman’s recent approval on January 22, 2013 of the pipeline’s revised route through Nebraska, there is no reason to delay this important project that will create jobs and have a positive effect on domestic energy security.
Tackled over-burdensome and unnecessary federal regulations. Congressman Forbes supported the American Energy Manufacturing Technical Corrections Act, H.R. 6582, to clarify federal energy-efficiency standards for water heaters, air conditioners, and commercial refrigerators. Without this legislation, manufacturers and consumers of these products were left with regulatory uncertainty and higher compliance costs, even requiring manufacturers to use less efficient and dated components. This bill passed by a vote of 398-2.
Worked to end wasteful risk taking with taxpayer dollars. Congressman Forbes supported the passage of the No More Solyndras Act, H.R. 6213, to end the costly Department of Energy loan program that resulted in over $500 million dollars being wasted on the now bankrupt Solyndra. This bill protects taxpayers from future high-risk investments that put investors ahead of the American people. This bill passed by a vote of 245-161.
Called for lower energy cost and more jobs for Virginia. Congressman Forbes supported passage of the Congressional Replacement of Offshore Drilling Plan, H.R. 6082, an offshore energy leasing proposal offered as an alternative to the administration’s five-year plan. The Congressional Alternative proposal ensures that our nation takes appropriate advantage of our natural resources, promotes job creation and reduces dependence on foreign oil. H.R. 6082 also opens the mid-Atlantic, including Virginia, to responsible offshore energy exploration. This will create jobs and bring economic growth to Virginia’s communities while contributing our nation’s energy independence. This bill passed by a vote of 253-170.
Cut red tape to secure minerals critical to U.S. national security. Congressman Forbes supported the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act, H.R. 4402, which requires the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture to more efficiently develop sources of minerals that are strategic or of critical importance to the U.S. economy and national security. These include “rare-earth” minerals that are used in electronics ranging from cell phones to missile technology. Right now the People’s Republic of China controls over 90% of the world’s rare-earth minerals, leaving the United States and its allies to rely on Chinese exports for critical resources. At a time when millions of Americans are looking for work, the federal government should not delay the mining of these critical minerals that will protect our national security and put Americans to work. This bill passed by a vote of 256-160.
Encouraging development of American energy resources now. Congressman Forbes supported the Domestic Energy and Jobs Act, H.R. 4480, a combination of seven bills aimed at increasing domestic oil and gas production and reducing unnecessary and costly environmental regulations in order to boost economic growth and reduce dependence on foreign oil. The bill stops or delays the implementation of new federal regulations that would raise the cost of energy for the American people, ensures that duplicative and unnecessary permitting requirements are not standing in the way of common sense energy development on public lands, and demands that the U.S. federal government begin planning for the nation’s energy future by having the Department of the Interior study what American energy needs will be over the next 30 years and what levels of domestic energy production are needed to meet that demand. This bill passed by a vote of 248-163.
Supported Fiscally Responsible Funding of Key Energy and Water Programs. Congressman Forbes supported H.R. 5325, the Energy and Water Appropriations bill for the Fiscal Year 2013, a bill that cut spending on energy and water programs by $1.2 billion from the Administration’s request. This legislation ensured sufficient funding for our nation’s critical nuclear weapons and nuclear security programs, guaranteed that the Army Corps of Engineers can continue its important work around the country, and provided the Department of Energy with the funding it needs to conduct its core responsibilities. Importantly, the legislation struck an essential balance between cutting spending and maintaining programs and research that will preserve our nation’s waterways, meet our energy needs, and protect our nuclear capability.
Cutting Red Tape to Tap American Energy Resources. Congressman Forbes supported House passage of the PIONEERS Act, H.R. 3408, to move forward with new offshore energy exploration, new energy lease sales in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge following an environmental impact study, and new development of shale oil in Wyoming, Colorado and Utah. This bill also transfers authority to approve the Keystone XL pipeline from the State Department to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and directs the Commission to make a decision on the pipeline within 30 days. As the American people are again facing the prospect of $4 dollar per gallon gasoline, Congressman Forbes continues to support measures that will create American jobs and reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign oil.
This bill passed the House by a vote of 237-187
Expanding Offshore Drilling to Create Jobs and Enhance Energy Independence. Congressman Forbes joined 181 other Members of Congress in sending a letter to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar urging that new and expanded access to the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) be included in the Department’s five-year proposed OCS leasing plan. Congressman Forbes was disappointed to learn that the recently released five-year OCS plan would not open any new areas of the OCS for energy exploration. This letter specifically requests that Department officials amend their plan to open the OCS offshore of Virginia to new energy exploration, a development that could bring thousands of new jobs to the Commonwealth. Congressman Forbes hopes that Secretary Salazar will reconsider the Department’s decision to move forward with a five-year, de-facto moratorium on expanding OCS energy development. A copy of the letter is available here.
Protected our nation’s nuclear arsenal. Congressman Forbes supported the Fiscal Year 2012 omnibus appropriations bill approved by the House and Senate that provided vital funding to the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) to ensure that our nation’s nuclear weapons are protected and maintained properly. The NNSA is responsible for the development, maintenance, and disposal of U.S. nuclear weapons, as well as preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
Stopped the implementation of costly and unnecessary light bulb standards. Congressman Forbes supported the Fiscal Year 2012 omnibus appropriations bill that prohibited the federal government from funding any enforcement or implementation of new light bulb efficiency standards. Unchecked, these federal standards would have effectively prohibited the use of traditional incandescent light bulbs and required that the American people purchase more efficient fluorescent bulbs. These fluorescent bulbs, while more efficient, also include toxic mercury. While this bill does nothing to impact the sale of fluorescent bulbs, it prevents the federal government from removing the American consumer’s choice to purchase the type of light bulbs they desire.
Urging the Administration to Allow Americans Access to Abundant Energy Resources. Congressman Forbes joined 13 of his colleagues in sending a letter to the Administration urging that the Keystone XL oil pipeline be approved as quickly as possible by the U.S. State Department. The letter expressed to the Administration the significant national security concerns of forcing the U.S. to look to nations that do not share our interests for our energy needs; this concern is compounded by reports that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is looking to Asia, specifically China, as a possible alternative consumer of Canada's abundant oil reserves. A copy of the letter is available here.
Challenged oppressive EPA Regulations. Congressman Forbes joined 92 of his colleagues in cosponsoring H.R.2250, the Environmental Protection Agency Regulatory Relief Act of 2011. This legislation would delay the EPA’s issuance of new emissions standards on industrial, commercial and institutional boilers and process heaters. These new standards would impose enormous costs on our nation’s manufacturers and farmers.
Continued efforts repeal the Administration’s de facto ban on energy exploration. Congressman Forbes supported H.R.2021, the Jobs and Energy Permitting Act to amend the Clean Air Act, to prevent offshore energy operations from being subjected to overbearing regulations aimed at delaying energy production. After energy companies have gone through the long and expensive process of purchasing, exploring and building upon offshore oil and natural gas development leases, the introduction of another hurdle by forcing strict emission limitations only serves to slow down or stop new domestic energy exploration. Congressman Forbes supported the Jobs and Energy Permitting Act to compel the EPA to act on permits in a timely manner and prevent burdensome regulation from unnecessarily stalling our nation’s capability to produce energy here at home. This bill passed the House by a vote of 253-166.
Bringing Relief at the Pump. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H.R.1777 to provide consumer relief for artificially high gas prices. This legislation presents a comprehensive plan for bringing down the price of gasoline for the American consumer by increasing domestic oil and natural gas production, ending frivolous litigation that delays energy production, reducing bureaucratic delays, and repealing mandates that cause the price of gasoline to be artificially high.
Backed increased domestic oil production. Congressman Forbes supported the Putting the Gulf of Mexico Back to Work Act, H.R.1229, ending a de facto moratorium put in place by the Department of the Interior (DOI) in the Gulf of Mexico following the Deepwater Horizon incident in April of 2010. Following the incident, DOI has failed to consider new drilling permits, severely affecting oil production in the Gulf of Mexico as well regional economies. According to an estimate by the Administration, the official moratorium enacted between April and October of 2010 resulted in up to 12,000 lost jobs. A recent study by a Louisiana State University Professor estimated the de facto moratorium if extended for 18 months could result in over 36,000 lost jobs nationwide. This bill passed the House by a vote of 263-163.
Expedited increase in domestic energy production. Congressman Forbes voted for the Reversing President Obama’s Offshore Moratorium Act, H.R.1231, permitting energy exploration and production in areas with the most prospective oil and gas reserves, such as the outer continental shelf. The legislation additionally directs the Secretary of the Interior to develop a plan to expand domestic oil and natural gas production with the goal of reducing and ultimately ending our nation’s reliance on foreign sources of energy. This bill passed the House by a vote of 243-179.
Supported efforts to encourage natural gas development. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H.R.1380, the NAT GAS Act, to promote the use and development of plentiful natural gas in the United States. At a time when Americans are paying nearly $4 a gallon for gasoline and are forced to rely on foreign oil, it is vital that the U.S. begin to invest in its domestic energy sources.
Lowered Energy Costs and Created Jobs for Virginia. Congressman Forbes voted for H.R. 1230 to end the Administration’s de facto moratorium on offshore oil and natural gas exploration. During a time when Americans are paying nearly $4 a gallon at the pump, the federal government’s failure to expedite offshore oil and natural gas drilling is only making the problem worse. H.R. 1230 requires the Secretary of the Interior to move forward with lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and offshore Virginia, resulting in less dependence on foreign oil and more jobs for Virginians. To date, these sales have effectively been frozen by the Administration’s unwillingness to move forward. This bill passed the House by a vote of 266-149.
Opposed costly backdoor implementation of cap-and-trade. Congressman Forbes cosponsored the Ensuring Affordable Energy Act, H.R.153, which prohibits federal funding for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to implement or enforce a cap-and-trade program for greenhouse gases. Although the unpopular cap-and-trade legislation has not become law, the Administration has indicated that it will implement this policy through new EPA regulations without congressional approval. This bill, if passed, will put an end to any back-door attempt to go around Congress and circumvent the will of the people.
Supported renewable energy development. Congressman Forbes cosponsored the American Energy Independence and Price Reduction Act, H.R.49, which uses revenue from the oil and gas production in a 2,000 acre section of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) for a vast array of renewable energy programs.
Increased environmentally responsible oil exploration. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H.R.1287, the Domestic Jobs, Domestic Energy, and Deficit Reduction Act (3-D Act), to create jobs by increasing domestic energy production off the outer continental shelf and opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) for environmentally responsible oil and gas production.
Worked to overcome the Administration’s job-killing oil moratorium. Congressman Forbes signed on to legislation entitled the Putting the Gulf Back to Work Act, H.R.1229, which requires an end to the Administration’s de facto moratorium on new oil and natural gas drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Even though the moratorium was officially lifted in October, the Administration has only issued five permits for projects to get back to work. Ten months later, over forty projects remain stalled. Government and business leaders from the Gulf Coast estimate that the moratorium on energy exploration last year cost more than 8,000 jobs in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas and wiped out nearly $2.1 billion in economic activity in the Gulf states. Congressman Forbes wants to put those American’s back to work, which will also reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign oil.
Introduced the New Manhattan Project for Energy Independence. Congressman Forbes introduced H.R.301, to assist in challenging the United States to achieve 50% energy independence in ten years and 100% energy independence in 20 years. The New Manhattan Project will bring together the best and brightest scientists in our nation in a competitive format to research one of seven established energy goals and will award significant prizes to any group, school, team, or company who reaches the goal.
Promoted nuclear energy innovation. Congressman Forbes voted for the Nuclear Research and Development Act (H.R.5866), which authorizes funding for the Department of Energy to increase the effectiveness and safety of civilian nuclear power. Currently 104 reactors generate 20% of our nation’s electric energy and account for 70% of emissions-free energy production.
Continued nuclear cooperation with Australia. Congressman Forbes supported H.R.6411, which extended our nation’s peaceful nuclear cooperation with Australia. The new agreement replaces one signed in 1979 and set to expire in 2011 under which the U.S. purchases 36% of Australia’s annual uranium exports. This bill passed the House by a voice vote.
Supported safe and energy-efficient buildings. Congressman Forbes supported a resolution (H.Res.1407) that affirms our nation’s commitment to functional, energy-efficient homes and buildings. Annually, homes and buildings account for 70% of U.S. electricity use, a number that could be reduced by the construction of high-performance buildings. This resolution passed the House by a vote of 371-20.
Encouraged renewable energy. Congressman Forbes supported the Collinsville Renewable Energy Promotion Act (H.R.4451) that grants licenses for the construction of two hydroelectric plants in Connecticut. These projects represent important initial steps to American energy independence. This bill passed the House by a voice vote.
Encouraged the production of American energy. Congressman Forbes supported the Hoover Power Allocation Act (H.R.4349) that extends, for 50 years, the rights of the federal government to distribute the electric power produced by the Hoover Dam. The domestic production of energy is a matter of economic vitality and national security. This bill passed the House by a voice vote.
Defended our electric grid from security threats. Congressman Forbes supported the GRID Act (H.R.5026) which allows the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to issue emergency orders in the event of a security threat to electrical infrastructure. This legislation comes amid growing concerns of cyber-attacks or physical attacks on American electrical production. This bill passed the House by a voice vote.
Supported Energy Independence. Congressman Forbes supported legislation (H.R.4942) to require the Department of Interior to begin lease sales for energy exploration in Virginia waters after the Virginia General Assembly and Governor certify their support for them. These drilling platforms would be environmentally sound and would not be visible from the shore. In addition, Congressman Forbes is working with other Members of the delegation to see that proceeds from offshore drilling benefit Virginians. In order to help end America’s reliance on foreign oil, Congressman Forbes has long advocated for an “all of the above” approach for comprehensive energy reform.
Supported increased research of natural gas vehicle capabilities. Congressman Forbes voted for H.R. 1622 to provide for a program of research, development, and demonstration on natural gas vehicles. This bill directs the Secretary of Energy to conduct a five-year program for natural gas vehicle research, development, and demonstration. This bill passed the House by a vote of 393-35.
Supported funding for energy and water projects. Congressman Forbes voted for H.R. 3183, the Energy and Water Appropriations bill, which funds the Department of Energy, urban and rural water projects, Army Corps of Engineer projects, and Department of Defense nuclear weapons and storage. The $33.3 billion cost was less than a 1% increase from last year’s funding level. The bill passed by a vote of 320-97.
Offered the New Manhattan Project for Energy Independence as an alternative to the cap-and-trade energy tax bill. The cap-and-trade energy bill, H.R.2454, is projected to increase energy costs by $1,200 per family per year. Congressman Forbes’ amendment was the only proposal out of more than 200 that received an up-or-down vote on the House floor. The House rejected the New Manhattan Project on a nearly party-line vote 172-256. The New Manhattan Project would help the United States reach 50% energy independence in 10 years by creating incentives and relying on partnerships with private industry, academia, think tanks, and government laboratories to reach major energy goals. The New Manhattan Project would spawn innovation and creativity, and taxpayers would only pay the bill after goals are met.
Opposed the cap-and-trade energy tax bill. The cap-and-trade bill, H.R.2454, would institute a carbon capture and trading framework for U.S. energy producers. The legislation is projected to increase energy costs per household by $1,200 per year. Additionally, the impact of the bill is expected to cost between 1.8 and 7 million net jobs, and send industrial and manufacturing jobs overseas. China, the world’s largest polluter, has stated that it will not implement a similar program. H.R. 2454 passed the House by a vote of 219-212 on June 26, 2009, and now awaits action in the Senate. To read additional reasons how an energy tax bill would impact our energy future, click here.
Signed a letter urging oil exploration to reduce energy costs. The letter to U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar encourages the Interior Department to proceed with the oil and gas lease sale at least 50 miles from Virginia’s shoreline. At the request of the Commonwealth, the Minerals Management Service (MMS) included Virginia in the current five year Oil and Gas Leasing Program for the Outer Continental Shelf. MMS has initiated the process of creating a new five year plan and Congressman Forbes urged the federal government to ensure that Virginia is included in this next plan. The likelihood of gas prices skyrocketing again in the coming months will create even greater financial distress for American families. Congressman Forbes believes we cannot wait until we are in a crisis to take critical steps towards solving our energy challenges and that we should move towards a comprehensive energy solution that includes conserving, tapping into alternative energy sources, and exploring new sources of oil.
Reintroduced H.R. 513, the New Manhattan Project for Energy Independence. This bill challenges the United States to achieve 50 percent energy independence in ten years and 100 percent energy independence in 20 years. To achieve this goal, the New Manhattan Project will bring together the best and brightest scientists in our nation in a competitive format to effectively research one of seven established energy goals and will award significant prizes to any group, school, team, or company who accomplishes the goal. The project will challenge scientists and researchers to: Double CAFE standards to 70 MPG while keeping vehicles affordable:
- Cut home and business energy usage in half
- Make solar power work at the same cost as coal
- Make the production of biofuels cost-competitive with gasoline
- Safely and cheaply store carbon emissions from coal-powered plants
- Safely store or neutralize nuclear waste
- Produce usable electricity from a nuclear fusion reaction
Signed a letter, along with other members of the Virginia Delegation, regarding the U.S. Department of Energy’s recent solicitation of loan guarantee proposals for nuclear reactors and uranium enrichment facilities. This letter urges the Department to use the loan guarantee program to advance projects that are vital to U.S. energy policies in a fiscally responsible way and with minimal risk to the federal government, being highly sensitive to the government’s exposure to financial risk as a result of any guarantee approved under the program, especially during these challenging economic times.
Celebrated “Energy Freedom Day” on October 1, 2008. On that day, the current prohibitions on oil and gas leasing on most of the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) and on oil shale leasing on federal lands expired, putting the U.S. on a path to energy independence as we begin to develop our own energy resources. Congressman Forbes joined 155 Members in signing a letter in September that called on the Democratic Leadership to allow these bans to expire. Estimates from the Minerals Management Service and Bureau of Land Management indicate that there are upwards of 18 billion barrels of recoverable crude oil on the currently off-limit areas of the OCS, as well as more than 55 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
Supported H.R. 6323, the Heavy Duty Hybrid Vehicle Research, Development, and Demonstration Act of 2008, which would establish a research, development, demonstration, and commercial application program to promote research of appropriate technologies for heavy duty plug-in hybrid vehicles.
Voted against H.R. 7060, the Renewable Energy and Job Creation Tax Act. This bill sets tax policy for investment incentives in renewable energy, carbon capture, and sequestration demonstration projects. H.R. 7060 is fully offset, which means that any tax cuts are “paid for” by tax increases in other areas. Therefore, this bill provides no net tax relief to the American people. The Senate passed a comprehensive bipartisan tax package, H.R. 6049, by a vote of 93-2. This bill provides $30 billion in net tax relief. By comparison, H.R. 7060 offers little tax relief for the rehabilitation of homes and businesses in the Gulf Coast, funding for rural schools, energy-efficient home credits, plug-in hybrids, or a special depreciation allowance for recycling property. Additionally, H.R. 7060 delays implementation of worldwide interest allocation rules, which help corporations avoid double-taxation on their foreign income.
Voted against H.R. 6899, the Comprehensive American Energy Security and Consumer Protection Act. The 290-page bill was released just 12 hours before a scheduled vote and was never considered by any House committee. The bill was said to expand offshore drilling by allowing states to “opt-in” to drill in the Outer Continental Shelf 50 to 100 miles off of their coast, but it would keep coastal states like Virginia from receiving any of the revenues generated by drilling activities, giving them no incentive to allow for any new drilling to take place. Additionally, it kept in place a moratorium on drilling off the Florida coast in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico, where the bulk of the infrastructure for offshore drilling is located.
Furthermore, the bill would have raised taxes by billions of dollars on American energy producers, and it included a Renewable Electricity Standard that would mandate private utilities like Dominion Power provide at least 15% of their electricity from renewable sources (which does not include nuclear power or clean coal), which would have meant significantly higher utility prices for Virginian consumers at a time when many are already struggling to make ends meet.
To listen to what Congressman Forbes said on the House Floor during debate on this bill, click here. To read Congressman Forbes’ statement following the vote on this bill, click here. Congressman Forbes has introduced the New Manhattan Project for Energy Independence, which has been hailed by the Wall Street Journal, CNN, and Fox News radio as one of the most innovative energy solutions before Congress. For more information on the New Manhattan Project, click here.
Voted in favor of a motion that would bring the American Energy Act, H.R. 6566, up for a vote. The American Energy Act is an “all-of-the-above” bill that would increase the domestic supply of energy, expand conservation and efficiency, and develop alternative energy technology to reduce our nation’s reliance on foreign oil and to lower gas prices. The motion failed by a nearly party-line vote of 224-189.
Voted in favor of H.R. 6604, the Commodity Markets Transparency and Accountability Act of 2008. The bill attempts to reign in excessive speculation in oil markets by requiring U.S.-based commodity traders to comply with U.S. trading regulations, even when they are trading through foreign exchanges. It also increases data reporting requirements, imposes limits on speculative investing where the investor does not take physical delivery of a commodity, and expands the role of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to monitor price manipulation in commodities futures markets.
Signed a letter urging Speaker Pelosi not to schedule any legislation that would interrupt American Energy Freedom Day. Most of the prohibitions on deep water drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf and on federal lands expire on October 1, 2008 unless Congress renews them. Congressman Forbes signed a letter along with many other Members urging the Speaker not to bring up legislation that would keep those prohibitions in place.
Voted against allowing Congress to adjourn for the week without addressing real solutions for energy. Majority leadership adjourned for the weekend on Thursday without bringing an energy bill to the Floor for a vote. While some Members of Congress stayed to discuss energy issues, Majority leadership turned off the lights, cameras, and microphones in the House Chamber, preventing Members' voices from being heard. Congressman Forbes said, “When American families are burdened by high gas prices and a struggling economy, it is unfortunate that the Majority leadership of this Congress would call for early adjournment rather than bring bipartisan energy legislation to the floor for a vote. There are many options on the table that have broad support from many Americans – including the New Manhattan Project – to expand American-made energy, encourage conservation, and decrease our dependency on foreign oil. There is no good reason that Congress shouldn’t address this issue before going home.”
Voted in favor of a motion that would bring the American Energy Act, H.R. 6559, up for a vote. The American Energy Act is an “all-of-the-above” bill that would increase the domestic supply of energy, expand conservation and efficiency, and develop alternative energy technology to reduce our nation’s reliance on foreign oil and to lower gas prices. The motion failed by a nearly party-line vote of 224-189.
Voted in favor of the Drill Responsibly in Leased Lands (DRILL) Act of 2008, H.R. 6515. This bill requires the Interior Department to offer oil and gas lease sales on an annual basis instead of every other year, as is current practice. It requires oil companies to “diligently develop" all of their current leases for energy production or give up the leases before they can obtain new leases. The bill also requires the government to quickly facilitate the construction of an oil pipeline from the Naval Petroleum Reserve in Alaska to connect with the current pipeline to Valdez, Alaska, and the construction of a natural gas pipeline from Alaska to the lower 48 states, and it prohibits the export of Alaskan oil to foreign nations.
Voted twice against allowing Congress to adjourn for a five-week vacation without addressing real solutions to skyrocketing gas prices. Before the Democratic motion to adjourn was adopted on Friday, nearly 100 Members of Congress, including Congressman Forbes, had signed up to speak on the House floor about the energy crisis, but the adjournment vote denied them the opportunity to address the American people on Friday. Congressman Forbes said, “When American families are burdened by skyrocketing gas prices, it is a shame that the Majority leadership of this Congress would call for early adjournment for a five-week recess rather than bring bipartisan energy legislation to the floor for a vote. There are many options on the table that have broad support from many Americans – including the New Manhattan Project – to expand American-made energy, encourage conservation, and decrease our dependency on foreign oil. There is no good reason that Congress shouldn’t address this issue before going home.”
Met with General James L. Jones USMC (Ret.), President and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for 21st Century Energy, to discuss the New Manhattan Project for Energy Independence. The Institute works to unify energy stakeholders and policymakers behind a common strategy to ensure that America's supply of fuel and power is adequate, stable, and affordable, while protecting national security, and improving the environment. Gen. Jones and Congressman Forbes discussed their shared belief that private sector innovation and American ingenuity should be harnessed to help the U.S. become energy independent, and discussed the need for a national challenge that will unite Americans around a common goal.
Voted in favor of H.R. 6604, the Commodity Markets Transparency and Accountability Act of 2008. This bill would address speculation in the oil markets by requiring that overseas commodity markets comply with the same regulations that U.S. markets must abide by.
Voted in favor of a motion to include the American Energy Act to H.R. 6559, the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Fiscal Year 2009 spending bill. The American Energy Act is a comprehensive bill to increase the domestic supply of energy, expand conservation and efficiency, and develop alternative energy technology to reduce our nation’s reliance on foreign oil and to lower gas prices.
Joined the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus. The Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus is a bipartisan organization created to promote greater awareness among Members of Congress of the status and potential of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.
Signed a letter to the Secretary of the Interior to request a redrawing of the maps governing Virginia’s deep water energy resource exploration as part of the Mineral Management Service’s (MMS) efforts to issue a new five year Oil and Gas Leasing Program for the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). The letter requests that the MMS re-evaluate the existing administrative lines in order to achieve a more fair and equitable final product that will benefit Virginia and many other states by allowing for additional energy exploration in the OCS.
Cosponsored a bill to allow Virginia’s Governor to ask the federal government for a waiver from the prohibition on energy exploration in the waters of the Outer Continental Shelf. The Department of Interior’s Minerals Management Service (MMS) has estimated that Virginia’s OCS has 56 million barrels of recoverable oil and 327 billion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas.
Voted in favor of House passage of H.R. 6545, the National Energy Security Intelligence Act of 2008, which requires the intelligence community to conduct a National Intelligence Estimate on the impact of rising energy prices and energy security issues as it relates to U.S. national security.
Opposed H.R. 6578, which would have diverted three days worth of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) into the United States domestic market. The Strategic Petroleum Reserve is a national security tool intended for use only during major disruptions in the oil supply to the U.S., such as in the case of a terrorist attack or major natural disaster. The bill failed to pass the House. Rather than endangering America’s national security to produce short-term relief at the pump, Congressman Forbes believes we must increase domestic energy production, increase conservation, and expand the use of alternative energies to address our Nation’s energy crisis.
Called upon the Democratic House Leadership to debate solutions for the energy crisis rather than naming historic trails. Congressman Forbes released a statement saying: “Another week has gone by in Congress without any action to address our current energy crisis. Instead of spending our time naming historic trails, perhaps we should be debating long-term solutions that will help drive down the price at the pump and move us towards energy independence. It’s time we address this national energy challenge with a bold initiative that gets at the scope of the problem. If the Majority leadership is short on ideas, I suggest the New Manhattan Project for Energy Independence. When our nation is facing one of the greatest challenges of this decade, we need to put the partisanship aside and adopt a bold plan that will move us in the direction of energy independence.” Congressman Forbes introduced the New Manhattan Project for Energy Independence, H.R. 6260, on June 12, 2008. The New Manhattan Project challenges the United States to achieve 50% energy independence in 10 years and 100% energy independence in 20 years, and awards significant prizes to any individual, group, or entity who can reach one of seven established energy goals. H.R. 6260 has been referred to the Committee on Science and Technology and is awaiting action. For more information on the New Manhattan Project, click here. To watch Congressman Forbes discuss his initiative on CNN, click here.
Signed a discharge petition to force House Leadership to bring H.R. 2208, the Coal-to-Liquid Fuel Act, to the floor. This legislation would spur development of coal-to-liquid projects that could expand U.S. energy supplies. If a discharge petition is signed by a majority of the Members (218), the bill must be brought up for a vote on the House floor. Majority leadership has not brought energy legislation to the House floor for a vote in recent weeks. This is the fourth energy discharge petition filed by House Republicans to try to force action on the energy issue.
Signed onto a letter urging Gov. Kaine to support a 50% waiver of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Gov. Rick Perry of Texas submitted a waiver request to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) seeking a temporary 50% reduction in the congressionally-mandated RFS of 9 billion gallons of ethanol in 2008—twice the amount of ethanol mandated in 2007. Poor weather, export restrictions, increasing energy prices, and global demand have increased commodity prices 300% compared to two years ago, which directly impacts food prices for Virginians. A recent study by agricultural economist Dr. Thomas Elam estimates that federal ethanol policies will add more than $421 million to the cost of feeding poultry and other livestock, and the increased production costs coupled with higher food costs for consumers will result in an estimated net loss of $863 million in Virginia’s economy alone. The temporary waiver provision under the RFS was created specifically to lessen severe economic harm to states. As such, members of the Virginia Congressional Delegation are calling on the Governor to support this waiver.
Was profiled in the Wall Street Journal for his work on The New Manhattan Project for Energy Independence, H.R. 6260, and called on Congressional Leadership to support this proposal. This bill challenges the United States to achieve 50 percent energy independence in 10 years and 100 percent energy independence in 20 years. To achieve this goal, the New Manhattan Project will bring together the best and brightest scientists in our nation in a competitive format to effectively research one of seven established energy goals and will award significant prizes to any group, school, team, or company who accomplishes each goal. Rep. Forbes' initiative was also featured in other print publications, including the Virginian Pilot, the Petersburg Progress-Index, and the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Appeared live on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal to discuss The New Manhattan Project for Energy Independence, H.R. 6260. Rep. Forbes' also discussed his the initiative on WTOP 103.5 Radio in Washington, DC, and on Fox News Radio's Tom Sullivan Show. During these appearances, he outlined his bold new plan to help the U.S. achieve 100 percent energy independence in 20 years, and awarding major prizes to any American who can achieve one of seven established energy goals in the areas of alternative fuel vehicles, green buildings, solar power, biofuels, carbon sequestration, nuclear waste, and nuclear fusion. He also highlighted the historical significance of such an endeavor, explaining the need for a new national challenge in the face of our increasing dependence on foreign oil, and the need for both short- and long-term solutions to high gas prices.
Signed a pledge to increase domestic energy supplies which states “I will vote to increase U.S. oil production to lower gas prices for Americans.” To date, this pledge has been signed by nearly 200 Members of Congress. Congressman Forbes believes that in order to lower gas prices in the short-run and become energy independent in the long-run, it is critical to focus our energy policy on three main objectives: production, conservation, and alternative energy.
Voted in favor of H.R. 6346, the Federal Price Gouging Prevention Act. This bill would make it a federal crime for any person to sell gasoline during an energy emergency at a price that is “unconscionably excessive.” It would also prohibit any retailer or wholesaler from taking unfair advantage of the circumstances related to an energy emergency in order to unreasonably increase prices.
Appeared live on CNN to discuss his New Manhattan Project for Energy Independence, H.R. 6260. This bill challenges the United States to achieve 50 percent energy independence in 10 years and 100 percent energy independence in 20 years. To achieve this goal, the New Manhattan Project will bring together the best and brightest scientists in our nation in a competitive format to effectively research one of seven established energy goals and will award significant prizes to any group, school, team, or company who accomplishes each goal.
Delivered a speech before the House of Representatives on The New Manhattan Project for Energy Independence, H.R. 6260. In this speech, Congressman Forbes outlined his bold new plan to help the U.S. achieve energy 100 percent energy independence in 20 years by establishing a commission that will bring together the best and brightest scientists in our nation, and awarding major prizes to any American who can achieve one of seven established energy goals in the areas of alternative fuel vehicles, green buildings, solar power, biofuels, carbon sequestration, nuclear waste, and nuclear fusion. He also highlighted the historical significance of such an endeavor, explaining the need for a new national challenge in the face of our increasing dependence on foreign oil, and the need for both short- and long-term solutions to high gas prices.
Introduced H.R. 6260, the New Manhattan Project for Energy Independence Act of 2008. This bill challenges the United States to achieve 50 percent energy independence in ten years and 100 percent energy independence in 20 years. To achieve this goal, the New Manhattan Project will bring together the best and brightest scientists in our nation in a competitive format to effectively research one of seven established energy goals and will award significant prizes to any group, school, team, or company who accomplishes the goal. The project will challenge scientists and researchers to:
- Double CAFE standards to 70 MPG while keeping vehicles affordable
- Cut home and business energy usage in half
- Make solar power work at the same cost as coal
- Make the production of biofuels cost-competitive with gasoline
- Safely and cheaply store carbon emissions from coal-powered plants
- Safely store or neutralize nuclear waste
- Produce usable electricity from a nuclear fusion reaction
Cosponsored H.R. 3089, the No More Excuses Energy Act of 2007. This legislation would immediately impact the price at the pump by encouraging construction of new refineries, reducing greenhouse emissions, boosting alternative energy development, increasing American oil production and encouraging the construction of new nuclear power plants.
Signed a discharge petition to bring H.R. 3089 to the House floor for a vote. If a majority portion of the House of Representatives sign their name to have a vote on a bill that addresses energy prices, the Speaker would have no choice but to allow it to be considered. Currently, 139 Members of Congress have signed the discharge petition for this bill.
Cosponsored H.R. 2471, the Refinery Streamlined Permitting Act of 2007. This bill would help streamline the oil refinery permitting process by requiring the various agencies responsible for permitting to work together to bring new refineries online. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, there has not been a new refinery built in the United States since 1976, which has contributed to the higher price of gas by restricting supplies.
Cosponsored H.R. 6107, the American Energy Independence and Price Reduction Act. This bill would reduce the price of gasoline by opening the Arctic Energy Slope to environmentally sensitive American energy exploration. The development footprint would be limited to 0.01% of the Refuge, and revenue received from the new leases would be invested in a long-term alternative energy trust fund.
Voted in favor of H.R. 6074, the Gas Price Relief for Consumers Act of 2008. This bill would make it illegal for foreign countries to collude (such as in the case of OPEC) to limit the production or distribution or manipulate the price of oil, natural gas, or any other petroleum product. It also would establish a Petroleum Industry Antitrust Task Force within the Department of Justice to investigate market abuses.
Voted in favor of H.R. 6022, the Strategic Petroleum Reserve Fill Suspension and Consumer Protection Act of 2008. This bill will aid efforts to lower gas prices by temporarily suspending the addition of petroleum to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) through December 31, 2008, until the weighted average price of petroleum in the United States for the most recent 90-day period is $75 or less per barrel.
Voted against H.R. 5351, the Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act of 2008. While Rep. Forbes supports improved conservation and renewable energy, and expanding consumer tax incentives for energy efficiency, the legislation also would increase the tax burden on U.S. energy-producing companies by $18 billion. The legislation would make it more expensive for current energy producers to operate within the U.S, which in the end would prevent the bill from making any impact on the rising gas prices for Virginians.
Cosponsored H.R. 2784, the National Environment and Energy Development Act. This legislation would help increase domestic energy production and decrease our dependence on foreign oil by eliminating federal prohibitions against the use of federal funds to conduct natural gas leasing and preleasing activities for any area of the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), and opening certain federal submerged lands to leasing for natural gas exploration and production. H.R. 2784 also would express the intent of Congress that this Act result in a healthy and growing American industrial, manufacturing, transportation, and service sector employing America's workforce to assist in the development of affordable energy from the OCS.
Opposed the House version of H.R. 6, the Energy Bill, on December 13, 2007 and voted in favor of the Senate amendments to H.R. 6, the Energy Bill, on December 18, 2007. The House version of H.R. 6 would have established a controversial Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) and included nearly $21 billion in tax increases on energy producers. The Senate Amendments to H.R. 6 removed those controversial provisions while maintaining the increase in Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) Standards to a fleetwide standard of 35 miles per gallon by 2020, establishing a new Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) to reach 36 billion gallons of renewable fuel by 2022, providing for new energy efficiency and conservation standards, and increasing funding for research and development of alternative energy sources such as geothermal and solar technologies. The President is expected to sign H.R. 6, as amended, into law, an important step towards decreasing our dependence on foreign sources of energy.
Supported lower energy prices for Virginians by voting against the Senate amendments to H.R. 6, a bill to overhaul the energy policies of the United States. The bill included policies that would mandate a federal renewable portfolio standard (RPS) and increased fuel efficiency for vehicles, but did not include provisions to increase U.S. domestic energy supplies or decrease U.S. reliance of foreign oil. The bill was estimated to result in higher gas and electricity prices for consumers, as well as over $1.1 billion in costs for Virginia by 2030 to implement the federal RPS.
Cosponsored H.R. 2927, which would increase the corporate average fuel economy standards for automobiles and promote the domestic development and production of advanced technology vehicles. This legislation would increase fleet-wide corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards for non-passenger and passenger automobiles to between 32 and 35 miles per gallon by 2020, and would establish separate standards for cars and light trucks. It also would establish an account to fund domestic commercialization and production of advanced technology vehicles and vehicle components and extend provisions providing manufacturing incentives for alternative fuel automobiles for 10 years.
Supported H.R. 3776, the Energy Storage Technology Advancement Act of 2007. H.R. 3776 would provide for a research, development, and demonstration program by the Secretary of Energy to support the ability of the United States to remain globally competitive in energy storage systems for vehicles, stationary applications, and electricity transmission and distribution.
Supported H.R. 3775, the Industrial Energy Efficiency Research and Development Act of 2007. H.R. 3775 would establish a program within the Department of Energy (DOE) to support the research and development of new industrial processes and technologies that optimize energy efficiency and environmental performance, utilize diverse sources of energy, and increase economic competitiveness.
Supported H.Res. 500, a resolution that expresses the sense of the House of Representatives that the United States should make clear to the governments of major natural gas exporting countries that it regards the manipulation of the supply of natural gas to the world market for the purpose of setting a nonmarket price, or as an instrument of political pressure, to be an unfriendly act prejudicial to the security of the United States and of the world. H.Res. 500 also states that the U.S. should develop a joint strategy with its allies and all countries that are importers of natural gas to prevent the establishment of a cartel and that we should work with our allies to reduce our dependence on natural gas and to increase and promote the utilization of clean energy sources.
Cosponsored H.R. 2230, which would prevent discriminatory taxation of natural gas pipeline property, including all property owned or used by a natural gas pipeline for the transportation or storage of natural gas. This legislation is designed to protect consumers from higher natural gas costs associated with taxes assessed by states on natural gas pipelines that may be higher than those assessed on other local commercial and industrial property in the same geographic area.
Voted in favor of H.R. 1716, the Green Energy Education Act of 2007, which would authorize the Secretary of Energy to contribute energy research and development funds to the National Science Foundation (NSF) for programs to support graduate education related to energy projects such as the design and construction of high performance buildings.
Voted in favor of H.R. 632, the H-Prize Act of 2007, which would direct the Secretary of Energy to award competitive cash prizes biennially to advance the research, development, demonstration, and commercial application of hydrogen energy technologies. Prizes would be awarded for: advancements in certain hydrogen components or systems; prototypes of hydrogen-powered vehicles or other hydrogen-based products; and transformational changes in technologies for hydrogen distribution or production.
Voted in favor of H.R. 1252, the Federal Price Gouging Prevention Act. H.R. 1252 would make "price gouging" of crude oil, gas, or natural gas an offense punishable by fines or jail time, if the act occurs during an energy emergency as declared by the President. Additionally, this legislation would allow a state attorney general to pursue civil action against companies or individuals who violate this law. A Consumer Relief Trust Fund would be established from the fines collected and used to provide financial assistance under the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.
Joined the Renewable Energy and Efficiency Caucus, a bipartisan group of Members of Congress whose mission is to increase awareness of the various forms of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.
Voted in favor of H.R. 2264, which would make oil-producing and exporting cartels, such as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), illegal under U.S. law. This legislation would prohibit foreign countries from forming cartels or other associations to affect the market, supply, price, or distribution of oil, natural gas, or other petroleum product in the United States. The Attorney General would be authorized to enforce this legislation under U.S. antitrust laws. The possibility of sovereign immunity for foreign states found in violation of this legislation would be waived.
Participated in a hearing of the Judiciary Committee Antitrust Task Force on "Prices at the Pump: Market Failure and the Oil Industry." Congressman Forbes attended this hearing to investigate how factors such as retail station costs, refinery capacity, marketing and distribution costs, state and local taxes, and oil company profits impact gas prices. In addition, the Task Force heard testimony from witnesses about anticompetitive behavior on the part of the oil industry and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), whose 11 members account for 40% of world oil production.
Supported The Advanced Fuels Infrastructure Research and Development Act, H.R. 547, which would establish a research and development program for biofuels additives that would make them compatible with existing fuel storage and transportation infrastructure. Biofuel, a renewable energy source, is any fuel that is derived from biomass, which consists of recently living organisms or their metabolic byproducts such as manure.