Bill Klesse, chairman of the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association (NPRA), and CEO and chairman of Valero Energy Corp., testified this week before the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, expressing the refining community’s concerns with S. 1733, the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act, NACS reported.
“The implications of this legislation are devastating for the American people and for the American refining and petrochemical industries,” Klesse said as he addressed committee members. “One of our chief concerns is that this legislation provides foreign refiners and petrochemical operations a competitive advantage to American businesses. You must remember that we are in a global business. India, China and other countries provide intense competition to American refiners. With the recession, increasing regulations, and now the potential costs associated with this legislation, results are devastating. Not only to our businesses, but to the millions of Americans who work in the industry.”
He added that the legislation also imposes large, new costs to the consumer. With close to 3 billion tons of CO2 emitted each year by commuters, even at a low carbon price of $20 per ton, the refining sector will have to purchase $63 billion in carbon credits every year. He noted this would not only place an unmanageable financial strain on American businesses, but consumers would feel much of this burden in the form of higher fuel costs.
“We all deserve a broad menu of safe, reliable and low-cost fuels. Today’s vehicles operate primarily on traditional gasoline and diesel. Emerging technologies will be part of the fuel mix, but are still years, if not decades, away from commercial viability and affordability,” Klesse said. “This legislation attempts to raise oil product prices so that other less economic energy sources look better by comparison. Is this really fair to the American consumer or to our industry? As diesel fuel prices increase, what happens to the trucking and railroad industries and those jobs? In the end – what happens to our competitiveness for any goods we produce? Plainly said, this legislation tosses away our nation’s competitive advantage, further damages our economy, destroys jobs and threatens our national security.”
In letters to both the House and Senate, and in-person meetings, NACS has urged Congress to pursue a balanced approach to environmental protection, and to not impose significant cost burdens on retailers and their consumers by forcing them to pay higher prices at the pump.