A Bill Without Energy is Not an Energy Bill at All
Democrats' bill fails to address the nation's energy needs and will increase costs
Over the past year, every American has felt the effects of increased energy prices and America's farmers and ranchers are no exception. Facing higher input costs for energy and fertilizer without any relief in sight, American agriculture needs an energy bill that encourages domestic energy production and feasible renewable fuels provisions. The Democrats' energy bill does not create a plan to increase domestic energy production and contains significant tax increases that will be felt by every American energy consumer. Ranking Member Bob Goodlatte voiced his opposition to the flawed energy plan put forth by the Majority.
"Increasing domestic energy production is imperative to moving our nation toward energy independence. Unfortunately, the energy policy set forth by the Democrats in recent legislation would do nothing to make us energy independent or lower energy costs. In fact the energy policy contained in the Energy Independence and Security Act stifles domestic energy production, increases energy costs, and makes America more dependent on foreign oil," said Rep. Goodlatte.
The agriculture sector has played an important role in domestic energy production. In 2006, the agriculture sector contributed significantly to the 4.85 billion gallons of ethanol produced in the U.S. Much of the ethanol currently produced in the U.S. is made from corn; however, a wide array of agricultural products including forestry biomass, animal and plant waste, and animal fats can be converted into renewable fuels. The Congress has the opportunity to increase the development of renewable fuel by formulating good energy policy; however, the Majority's energy bill fails to address renewable fuels in a feasible manner. The bill increases the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) to 36 billion gallons by 2022 and mandates a significant portion of future renewable fuels to be produced from technologies that do not yet exist commercially.
"Creating new markets for agriculture producers to market their products benefits farmers and bolsters domestic energy production. With the large amount of forest products and animal and plant waste available in many areas of the country, particularly in western Virginia, I am a proponent of cellulosic ethanol development. However, I find it ridiculous that the government would mandate the use of technologies that do not currently exist," said Rep. Goodlatte. Even without the available technology, the bill further discourages the production of renewable fuels from forests, even though wood is the largest potential source of cellulosic feedstock.
The Energy Independence and Security Act imposes $21 billion in tax increases and many new government mandates. The Majority claims that increasing taxes and fees on oil companies will not affect the average American, only oil companies. Theses taxes will impede new domestic oil and gas production, discourage investment in new refinery capacity, and make it more expensive for domestic energy companies to operate in the U.S. than their foreign competitors, making the price at the pump rise even higher while the U.S. becomes more dependent on foreign sources. Bottom line: consumers will bear the brunt of this tax increase in the form of increased energy prices.
"The need for a comprehensive energy bill has never been more apparent. I hope that we in Congress can develop legislation that fully confronts the challenges facing our nation, but the Energy Independence and Security Act is not the answer. We need a comprehensive energy policy based on exploration, innovation, and conservation so we can grow our economy, create quality jobs, and make America stronger," said Rep. Goodlatte.