Rep. Marsha Blackburn (TN-07) denounced in the strongest terms the latest Democrat energy proposal. Citing the total lack of consultation, as well as anything resembling an "all of the above" approach to energy independence; Blackburn was angered and disappointed at how the Democrats brought the bill to the floor. Members saw the 290 page legislation for the first time late last night. This is a direct contradiction to Speaker Pelosi's promise in 2006 to allow Members 24 hours to examine a bill:
"After a five-week vacation and cross country book tour; during which time Democrats turned off the lights, turned off the cameras, and refused to address the energy issue; we have this 290 page sham energy bill dropped in the middle of the night. There hasn't been a single hearing on this bill and not a single amendment will be allowed. This is no way to address the most pressing issue for America. On the process alone, this is unacceptable."
"The American people have had more than a month to examine the Republican's American Energy Act. They support its aim of an all of the above' approach to energy independence. By introducing their bait-and-switch energy bill on the floor last night, Democrats displayed their blatant disregard for both the American people's wishes and responsible legislating."
Speaking to the merits of the bill:
"When they took the gavel in 2007, the Democrats offered a sham energy bill that did not provide a single watt of new energy, but did outlaw the incandescent light bulb. This new bill is as bad as the first. There are no provisions for clean coal, no new nuclear, no accommodation to increase our refining capacity, and vital oil resources that could immediately reduce the price at the pump are put under permanent lock and key."
What the bill means for Tennessee:
"Tennesseans learned last month that their electric bill will go up by 20% this winter. While the energy debate heated up on the House floor, Democrats offer no solution to the question I hear from Tennesseans, How will I heat my home?' TVA had to raise their rates because of the market cost of coal and natural gas, two resources this country has in abundance. This bill does absolutely nothing to bring the cost of those resources down. In fact, I would not be surprised if they increased. In a week that saw $5.00 a gallon gas in some parts of Tennessee, this bill is obscene in its neglect of the needs of real Americans. It is a victory for environmental extremists and a defeat for Tennesseans."
Highlights of the Democrat Energy Bill (H.R.6899):
* Implements vast restrictions on energy drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) compared to what would otherwise be allowed if the current moratorium on OCS energy development were allowed to expire on October 1, 2008.
* Provides states no incentive to allow for the expanded OCS drilling. That is, states would not get revenue shares in any of the newly leased areas.
* Repeals the moratorium on oil shale on federal lands, but prohibits any actual oil shale leasing unless a state allows it via state law. Allowing the current moratorium to simply expire in two weeks would allow for oil shale leasing on federal lands without state approvals.
* Releases 70 million barrels from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) and provides for a subsequent replenishment with a less desirable grade of oil.
* Authorizes $1.7 billion taxpayer dollars to subsidize public transportation ridership already at record levels.
* Includes a requirement, commonly known as the Renewable Portfolio Standard or the Renewable Electricity Standard, that electric suppliers, other than governmental entities and rural electric cooperatives, provide 2.75% of their electricity using renewable energy resources by the year 2010and increasing incrementally to 15% by the year 2020.
* Directs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to develop loan products and flexible underwriting guidelines to facilitate a secondary market for energy-efficient and location-efficient mortgages on housing for low and moderate income familiesand for second and junior mortgages made for the purposes of energy efficiency or renewable energy improvements.
* Mandates gas stations owned by larger oil and gas companies to install at least one alternative fuel pump (natural gas, E-85, biodiesel, or hydrogen) by 2018.
* Includes the Charlie Rangel transportation earmark for New York by terminating the remaining portions of the New York Liberty Zone tax incentives program (implemented to encourage business investment in lower Manhattan).
* Includes several tax increasesprimarily the special carve-out of large (and foreign-government-owned) oil and gas producers from the domestic manufacturing tax deduction, the freeze of this tax deduction for all other oil and gas companies, and a restriction of how foreign oil and gas extraction income is determined for purposes of the foreign income tax credit. The bill also includes a PAYGO gimmick that will force energy companies to remit $3 billion in estimated taxes in FY2013 sooner than they otherwise would have to.
What isn't in the bill:
* Litigation reform, so that American energy exploration and development, including that authorized by this legislation, is not further halted by environmentalist lawsuits.
* Allowing energy exploration and development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).
* Expedited petroleum refinery permitting.
* Expedited nuclear reactor permitting.
* There is also no language regarding futures markets speculation.