THE ENERGY POLICY ACT: ENSURING OUR ECONOMIC AND NATIONAL SECURITY
August 19, 2005
For nearly five years, Congress has debated the need for a sound, comprehensive national energy policy. Recently, the Congress passed the Energy Policy Act of 2005 which fulfills that need by adopting policies that move our nation toward a more affordable and environmentally friendly energy supply while ensuring our economic and national security.
Energy is vital to every sector of the U.S. economy, including homes, small businesses and industries. Energy powers computers, appliances, technology and the Internet and fuels transportation and farming processes. When energy supplies are tight, families and businesses are severely impacted by the resulting increase in energy costs. High energy prices and a deteriorating energy infrastructure have caused home heating bills to skyrocket and forced some U.S. manufacturers to slow production, lay off workers or even go out of business.
The need for a comprehensive energy bill has never been more apparent. We've grown dangerously dependent on foreign oil sources as gas prices continue to escalate and threaten our economic security. The Energy Policy Act encourages more domestic production of oil using incentives, promotes a greater refining capacity to bring more oil to market and attempts to scale back the demand for oil by encouraging hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and increased funding to improve fuel-efficiency standards.
To reduce our dependence on foreign oil, this bill encourages companies to develop U.S. resources rather than send their investments overseas and provides incentives for off-shore oil and gas production only when energy prices are low. Studies indicate that North America has the resource base to achieve energy independence within 20 years, including natural gas, oil, coal, nuclear and renewable and alternative energies. Devoting resources to the development of our domestic energy supply is an important step in reducing our dependence on foreign sources.
The Energy Policy Act also contains tax incentives directed at consumers to improve the energy efficiency of their homes and belongings. Incentives include a 10 percent tax credit (up to $500) for improving insulation, roofs, heating, cooling equipment and other aspects of homes and a 30 percent tax credit for the purchase of solar power, solar water heating, and fuel cell technologies for use in residential property. Additionally, there are incentives for the manufacture of better washing machines, refrigerators and dishwashers. These provisions allow owners to increase the energy efficiency of their homes while lowering the costs of their own energy bills.
The Energy Policy Act of 2005 is a step in the right direction to lowering our dependency on foreign oil and increasing our domestic energy security. Through this comprehensive energy policy based on exploration, innovation, and conservation, we can grow our economy, create quality jobs, and make America stronger.