Phil Roe on Energy & Oil
A: The solution to the energy crisis involves a long term solution involving new sources of petroleum (drilling), clean coal technology, nuclear, renewable sources such as wind, hydro electric and converting all power petroleum plants to coal or nuclear. Long-term incentives, such as tax credits for individuals installing things such as solar water heaters, help in our conversion to non-fossil fuel technologies.
Proponent's Argument for voting Yes:
[Rep. Young, R-AK]: The Americans suffering from $4 a gallon gas today must feel like they're experiencing a sense of deja vu. In 2008, when gasoline prices reached a record high of $4.11 per gallon, the public outcry forced Congress to act. That fall, Congress lifted the offshore drilling ban that had been in place for decades. Three years later, most Americans would likely be shocked to learn that no energy development has happened in these new areas.
Opponent's Argument for voting No:
[Rep. Markey, D-MA]. In the first 3 months of this year, Exxon-Mobil made $10 billion off of the American consumer; Shell made $8 billion; BP made $7 billion. So what are these companies asking for? These companies are now asking that we open up the beaches of California, Florida & New England to drill for oil. People who live near those beaches don't want oil coming in the way it did in the Gulf of Mexico. Right now, those oil companies are centered down in the Gulf of Mexico. People are concerned because those companies have blocked any new safety reforms that would protect against another catastrophic spill. We have to oppose this bill because, first of all, they already have 60 million acres of American land that they haven't drilled on yet, which has about 11 billion barrels of oil underneath it and an equivalent amount of natural gas. This bill is just a giveaway to Exxon-Mobil and Shell.
Opponent's Argument for voting No:
[Rep. Waxman, D-CA]: This bill is a direct assault on the Clean Air Act. Its premise is that climate change is a hoax and carbon pollution does not endanger health and welfare. But climate change is real. It is caused by pollution, and it is a serious threat to our health and welfare. We need to confront these realities. American families count on the EPA to keep our air and water clean. But this bill has politicians overruling the experts at EPA, and it exempts our biggest polluters from regulation. If this bill is enacted, the EPA's ability to control dangerous carbon pollution will be gutted.
Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Rep. ED MARKEY (D, MA-7): For the first time in the history of our country, we will put enforceable limits on global warming pollution. At its core, however, this is a jobs bill. It will create millions of new, clean-energy jobs in whole new industries with incentives to drive competition in the energy marketplace. It sets ambitious and achievable standards for energy efficiency and renewable energy from solar, wind, geothermal, biomass so that by 2020, 20% of America's energy will be clean.
Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. BOB GOODLATTE (R, VA-6): I agree that this bill has very important consequences, but those consequences are devastating for the future of the economy of this country. It's a fantasy that this legislation will turn down the thermostat of the world by reducing CO2 gas emissions when China & India & other nations are pumping more CO2 gas into the atmosphere all the time. We would be far better served with legislation that devotes itself to developing new technologies before we slam the door on our traditional sources of energy like coal and oil and and nuclear power. We support the effort for energy efficiency. We do not support this kind of suicide for the American economy. Unfortunately, cap and trade legislation would only further cripple our economy.
Congressional Summary:Amends the Energy Conservation and Production Act to repeal provisions concerning the Department of Energy's weatherization assistance program for low-income persons to increase energy efficiency of dwellings.
Proponent's Comments (Rep. Chuck Fleischmann Press Release):Fleischmann said, "I have worked since day one to balance our budget and stop the 'tax, borrow, spend' mentality that has dominated Washington for far too long. I am glad to introduce legislation to end the Weatherization Assistance Program in order to save billions of dollars."
Other federal programs, such as the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), are already in place to assist low-income households in managing energy costs. The Dept. of Energy's Inspector General conducted a review of this program concluding that weatherization work on homes was poorly administered and led to potentially harmful effects for home inhabitants.
Opponent's Comments (GreenBuildingAdvisor.com, Nov. 22, 2011):The purpose of the measure is to eliminate the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), which provides free weatherization services for low-income households. The WAP has historically been ignored by politicians as a cost-cutting target because its annual budget was, at a few million dollars, relatively small. But its budget ballooned dramatically--to about $5 billion over three years--under the federal stimulus program.
The congressman says the WAP is dispensable because LIHEAP is already in place. Weatherization improvements, however, provide ongoing energy savings rather than one-time assistance with energy bills.
Fleischmann points to a DOE review that called the expanded program "poorly administered." But the main concern identified in that report was the sluggish rollout of services in many states, due to confusion over wage and other implementation requirements.
Congressional Summary of H.R.97:
Congressional Summary of H.R.153, "Ensuring Affordable Energy Act":
OnTheIssues Explanation:These two related bills exclude the EPA from taking on global warming by defining greenhouse gases as a "pollutant." These bills do not directly oppose regulating greenhouse gases nor cap-and-trade; either could still be accomplished by an act of Congress. Instead, they REQUIRE an act of Congress, rather than letting the President and the EPA bypass Congress by regulatory implementation instead of legislative implementation.
Congressional Summary:Authorizes a state to establish a program covering the leasing and permitting processes, regulatory requirements, and any other provisions by which the state would exercise its rights to develop all forms of energy resources on available federal land in the state.
Proponent's argument for bill: (The Heritage Foundation): This important piece of legislation would allow state control of energy resources on federal lands. America has harnessed technological advances in recent years in drilling and extracting energy resources that have caused a surge in domestic oil and gas in several areas of the country. Most of that production has occurred on private and state-owned lands, not federal lands where output has been on decline. The benefits of transferring power to the states over their own energy decisions: States have an interest in both boosting their economies by tapping into the energy resources available to them and protecting the environment. More importantly, they are best suited to fulfill these two goals, not the federal government.
Opponent's argument against bill:(The Wilderness Society): Oil and gas development can do serious damage to wildlands and waters, especially when it takes place in sensitive areas. The federal government began leasing public lands for energy development in 1920. We see energy development as a valid use of some public lands, but there are some wild places that must be protected. We work to ensure that the most stringent environmental precautions are applied when oil and gas development occurs on our public lands and that development does not happen in fragile wild areas. The Wilderness Society also makes sure that our most ecologically sensitive areas, such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, remain permanently off limits to oil and gas companies.
Excerpts from letter to House leadership:
"We offer our full support for allowing the most anti-competitive and economically harmful tax provisions, specifically the wind energy production tax credit (PTC), to expire. Extending the wind PTC is a key priority for the Obama Administration and its efforts to prop up wind and other favored "green energy" technologies. Under President Obama, federal subsidies for wind have grown from $476 million per year when he first took office to $4.98 billion per year today. A one-year extension of the wind PTC would cost American taxpayers over $13.35 billion. [which] has caused significant price distortions in wholesale electricity markets.
"The value of the Wind PTC today it is worth 2.3 cents per kilowatt hour produced. A wind project that "begins construction" in 2013 could receive subsidies until 2026. By ending this program now we will have given the wind industry a more than generous phase-out for a credit that is being awarded to a mature technology with over 61,100 megawatts of generation installed across the country and 13,400 megawatts under development in 21 states. Over 43% of all electric generation nameplate capacity additions in 2012 were from wind, overtaking natural-gas fired generation as the leading source of new power generation."
OnTheIssues note: The wind PTC subsidy will likely stay in place as long as Obama is president. In general, Democrats support alternative energy credits such as the PTC (which also applies to biomass and geothermal energy), although some Democrats from coal states or oil states oppose the PTC. The Republican signatories of this letter complain about the $5B annual subsidy for renewable energy--but they ignore fossil fuels subsidies including: $3B for fossil fuel tax subsidy; $1B for fossil energy R&D; and a $7B annual subsidy for oil & gas exploration.
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AZ-7: Rep.-Elect Ruben Gallego
CA-11:Rep.-Elect Mark DeSaulnier
CA-31:Rep.-Elect Pete Aguilar(R⇒D)
CA-33:Rep.-Elect Ted Lieu
CA-35:Rep.-Elect Norma Torres
FL-2: Rep.-Elect Gwen Graham(R⇒D)
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