Congressman Connie Mack (FL-14) decried passage of a weak energy bill in the House of Representatives today that will do nothing to increase and diversify our nation's domestic energy production. The bill passed by a vote of 236 to 189 this evening.
"Today, the House Democratic Leadership had a real opportunity to craft meaningful legislation that would not only increase our nation's domestic energy production, but would also spur development in alternative energies that would ultimately help to secure America's energy independence and strengthen our economy.
"It's disappointing that at a time when America needs to leave no stone unturned in order to increase our domestic energy production today and to create new sources of energy for tomorrow, the Democrats instead have passed a so-called "energy" plan that actually hamstrings the United States from accomplishing both of these critical objectives.
"The Democrats' legislation imposes vast restrictions on energy drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). It fails to allow drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). And it fails to include revenue sharing for coastal states in newly-leased drilling areas - eliminating an important incentive for states to allow expanded drilling off of their shores.
"In addition, the Democrats' bill fails to allow for expedited refinery or nuclear reactor permitting, making it much more difficult for the United States to build new oil refineries or further develop nuclear power facilities.
"At the same time, the Democrats continue to refuse to allow a vote on the American Energy Act - comprehensive energy legislation that would help us achieve our short- and long-term energy goals by:
-- Opening our deep water ocean resources, Arctic coastal plain, and Western oil shale resources to oil and gas exploration;
-- Removing the bureaucratic red tape that hinders the construction of new oil refineries;
-- Providing tax incentives for businesses and families that purchase more fuel-efficient vehicles;
-- Eliminating the barriers to nuclear power production;
-- Permanently expanding the tax credit for alternative energy production, including wind, solar and hydrogen;
-- And promoting coal-to-liquids technology.
"Quite simply, the Democrats have passed an "energy" bill that doesn't do the first-thing to solve today's energy crisis or our nation's long-term energy needs. That's not the kind of leadership Americans want and deserve."