Letter to President George W. Bush
October 11, 2006
The White House
Dear Mr. President:
As you and the Office of Management and Budget are now preparing your Administration's fiscal year 2008 budget request, we urge you to include funding that will dramatically improve the direction of our nation's energy policy.
As you are well aware, over the last few years American families, businesses, farmers, and economic interests have been burdened by volatile and increasing energy prices. These forces have cost thousands of jobs, exacerbated our trade deficit, and caused tremendous investment losses and economic uncertainty. In addition, we believe the ongoing turmoil in Iraq and other major oil producing countries, growing international competition for limited fossil fuel resources, and OPEC's increasing oligopoly power-not to mention new and ominous signs of global warming-are clear and present signs that our country must act now to increase our nation's energy independence.
We have said it before, but it bears repeating. The United States must urgently launch an Apollo project-scale effort to create a 21st century energy system based on cleaner and more diverse energy sources, benchmarked to an aggressive national oil savings goal. Energy experts estimate that such an Apollo project requires tens of billions of dollars in Federal investments to be matched by a similar level of private investment. However, these federal investments would be returned to the U.S. Treasury via increased tax revenues and would create millions of high wage manufacturing jobs.
Toward this end, we hope that your fiscal year 2008 budget request will include significant increases in funding to promote and accelerate energy efficiency, biofuels, alternative fuels and vehicles, including flex-fuel plug-in hybrid vehicles, clean coal and carbon sequestration, and clean and renewable energy. It should provide for expansion and long-term extensions of tax incentives and credits for production of renewable energy and fuels, for energy efficiency investments and technology, and for manufacturing of advanced efficient vehicles. A good starting point would be to at least fund the clean energy programs you enthusiastically supported in the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
Unfortunately, some of the federal government's most effective energy research programs have been more or less level funded since 2001. On August 8, 2005, you said that "The Energy Policy Act of 2005 is going to help every American who drives to work, every family that pays a power bill, and every small business owner hoping to expand," but then your subsequent fiscal year 2007 budget request failed to support many of the new programs and incentives in the bill, including the loan guarantee programs for ethanol, cellulosic ethanol, and other renewable energy and fuels. Over the past year, Democrats have sought to rectify this deficit by adding billions of dollars to the fiscal year 2007 budget for clean energy and energy efficiency deployment programs; unfortunately, we were blocked by majority party opposition.
Mr. President, we appreciated your State of the Union acknowledgement that our nation is "addicted to oil." But without an aggressive federal investment beginning in your fiscal year 2008 budget, the Energy Information Administration's short term projections confirm that our dependency will grow and energy prices will continue to be volatile and higher than even just two years ago. We look forward to working with you to chart a new energy direction that will swiftly make America safer and more energy independent.
Harry Reid Richard Durbin Maria Cantwell Jeff Bingaman Robert Byrd Daniel Inouye Byron Dorgan Dianne Feinstein John Kerry Ron Wyden Barack Obama Joe Lieberman Bob Menendez Debbie Stabenow Mary Landrieu Jack Reed Tim Johnson Frank Lautenberg Patrick Leahy Daniel Akaka Barbara Boxer Chris Dodd Ken Salazar Max Baucus