Congressman Joe Courtney calls the comprehensive package on energy reform a historic bill because it proposes changing the nation's fossil fuel and renewable energy systems while also seeking to save consumers money.
The most talked about portion of the bill centers on opening up oil drilling off both U.S coasts.
Courtney says this bill would lift a federal moratorium giving states the option to allow drilling between 50 and 100 miles off the coast.
However, Courtney's challenger in the second congressional district, Republican, Sean Sullivan says the bill's language won't help reduce the country's reliance on foreign oil. Sullivan spoke on WNPR's Where We Live.
"You also have to give the states some incentive to say yes. Otherwise you will end up with the Not In My Backyard syndrome. You'll get everyone saying well I agree with drilling for more oil just don't do it here. In this particular program, there's no additional revenue for the state, no sharing of the royalties, there's no incentive for any state to say yes."
Courtney says the Republicans' argument is flawed.
"The Outer Continental Shelf belongs to the federal government,Â it doesn't belong to states. And for some of the royalty payments to be earmarked which is the right way to describe this, just to one state or another really deprives the nation of the ability to finance the transition costs to a new sustainable system of energy and wean us off foreign dependence."
The energy reform package would also authorize the U.S to withdraw 10% from the strategic petroleum reserve to balance out home heating oil prices. And the bill allocates funds for home heating assistance in anticipation of more individuals asking for help this winter.