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Congress Seeks to Expand Refining Capacity

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. House of Representatives will soon be considering H.R. 4517, a newly introduced measure specifically designed to expand U.S. supplies of gasoline, diesel fuel and heating oil, according to the Petroleum Marketers Association of America (PMAA) Web site.

The measure was introduced by House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Joe Barton (R-Texas), and will likely be scheduled for action in the House as early as next week. The preamble notes that more than 50 percent of the refineries in the United States have closed since 1981. As a result, U.S. demand for refined petroleum products now exceeds production capacity.

H.R. 4517 will provide incentives to expand refining in the United States. Specifically, the bill will permit the secretary of energy to designate refinery revitalization zones where idle refineries can obtain expedited permitting for resuming operations. These zones would also include areas where refineries have significantly reduced production.

"This is certainly a step in the right direction," commented PMAA chairman Jeff Lykins. "PMAA has been urging Congress to focus on refining capacity and it is good to see the issue getting attention."
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