Stephen Fincher 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.
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.
Congressional Summary: House amendment to H.R. 5538, the Interior & Environment Agencies Appropriations bill for FY 2017. This amendment would prohibit funds to be used to research, investigate, or study offshore drilling in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico Planning Area of the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).
Heritage Foundation recommends voting NO: (7/13/2016): The Gulf of Mexico continues to be a very important asset for our energy future and it continues to produce significant amounts of oil and natural gas. Yet the Eastern Gulf of Mexico has not participated to this point despite its significant potential. A 2014 Heritage Foundation report said: "Excessive regulations and bureaucratic inefficiencies have stymied oil production and prevented the full effects of the energy boom." This amendment would block any potential progress that could take place by preventing the necessary work that would need to be prepared in the East Gulf for potential lease sales and eventual production.
Sierra Club recommends voting YES: (1/12/1974): The Sierra Club believes that no offshore petroleum exploration should occur unless and until the following conditions are met:
Legislative outcome: Failed House 185 to 243 (no Senate vote).
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