Bill Flores on Energy & Oil
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.
No Climate Tax Pledge: "I pledge to the taxpayers of my state, and to the American people, that I will oppose any legislation relating to climate change that includes a net increase in government revenue."
Sponsoring organizations: Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEU); National Taxpayers Union (NTU); Institute for Liberty Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is a nationwide organization of citizen-leaders committed to advancing every individual's right to economic freedom and opportunity. AFP believes reducing the size and intrusiveness of government is the best way to promote individual productivity and prosperity for all Americans.
The Contract from America, clause 2. Reject Cap & Trade:
Stop costly new regulations that would increase unemployment, raise consumer prices, and weaken the nation's global competitiveness with virtually no impact on global temperatures.
The Contract from America, clause 8. Pass an 'All-of-the-Above' Energy Policy:
Authorize the exploration of proven energy reserves to reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources from unstable countries and reduce regulatory barriers, [to keep energy prices low].
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.
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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