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Congressman Cole: Refineries Mean Jobs and Energy Independence

June 16, 2004
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Cole spoke in favor of H.R. 4517, the Refinery Revitalization Act of 2004 on the House floor today. This legislation which, provides incentives to increase our nation’s refining capacity for gasoline, diesel fuel, home heating oil and jet fuel, passed in the House, 239-192.

Following are his remarks on the House floor: 

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to come to the floor today to support H.R. 4517, the Refinery Revitalization Act of 2004, which will provide incentives to increase the Nation's refinery capacity.

I have several major refineries in my district. I also have several refineries that have gone out of business in recent years, largely in small rural communities where their loss has created significant unemployment problems. Those areas could benefit enormously from this particular piece of legislation.

As all speakers on both sides of this issue have agreed, the number of refineries in this country has been reduced significantly in recent decades. Indeed, since 1981 the number of refineries has been reduced by 52 percent. In that time, total refining capacity has declined by 9.8 percent. Recent increases in refinery [output] are due simply to some efficiencies as opposed to the adding of additional capacity.

Mr. Speaker, while our production is declining, demand for refined products is projected to increase substantially between now and 2025. We will meet the demand for additional refined products either by producing that product here in the United States or importing it from abroad. This bill is needed to restore manufacturing jobs and capacity in this country. Counties where oil refineries have closed in the last 20 years have an average unemployment rate of 6.8 percent, significantly higher that the national average. I am amazed that those who complain about the exporting of American jobs oppose this bill, for without it. . .  we will surely export thousands of refining jobs in the coming years.

Mr. Speaker, by passing this bill, we can decrease our  reliance on foreign sources of energy, create new good jobs here at home, and improve our energy independence.