Congressman Bob Goodlatte voted against H.R. 6899, the Democrats energy legislation which does nothing to reduce our nation's dangerous reliance on foreign sources of energy. Instead of increasing the supply of American-made energy, improving conservation and efficiency or promoting renewable and alternative energy technologies like the American Energy Act, an all of the above' solution, this sham legislation pushes $19 billion in energy tax hikes onto American consumers, manufacturers and small businesses.
"It is undeniable that the American people want us to develop our nation's resources," noted Congressman Goodlatte. "This is demonstrated in poll after poll and exemplified with the meetings I have with my constituents. Unfortunately, this legislation is a hoax simply designed to give political cover to those who are working to keep our nation's oil resources in the ground instead of in gas tanks."
The "No Energy" legislation does not permit responsible exploration of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, known as ANWR in Alaska. According to estimates by the U.S. Geological Survey, ANWR holds between 5.7 and 16 billion barrels of recoverable reserves, potentially producing nearly a million barrels of oil a day. Exploration and development in ANWR would open only 2,000 of the 19 million acres of the refuge, or the equivalent of an area one-fifth the size of Dulles Airport in an area the size of South Carolina.
The legislation does nothing to encourage the production of more nuclear power which provides CO2 emission-free energy. The rest of the world is far outpacing the U.S. in its commitment to clean nuclear energy. We generate only 20 percent of our energy from this clean technology while France produces nearly 80 percent of its electricity from nuclear power.
Furthermore, this legislation does not even address some of our most promising domestic alternative and renewable energy supplies. There is not one thing in this bill that addressees clean coal technologies. Coal is one of our nation's most abundant resources, yet the development of Coal-to-Liquid technologies is completely ignored by this bill.
Additionally, the Democrats' legislation prohibits environmentally responsible exploration of American oil shale resources unless states "opt-in" to such a system and the bill does not allow local communities to share in the revenues generated from oil shale exploration. The Department of Energy estimates that 2 trillion barrels of oil shale exists within the United States.
The "No Energy" legislation makes no effort to cut the bureaucratic red-tape that currently exists and has prevented the construction of a new oil refinery since the late 1970s.
ome have cited how this bill opens up areas of the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). It may technically remove some of the barriers, but it does not include provisions to provide the traditional revenue sharing between the federal government and states for the income generated from these developments. Without allowing coastal states to share in the revenue, they will have no incentive to develop these vital resources. Virginia has expressed strong interest in developing the resources on our OCS. The Commonwealth of Virginia should benefit from revenue sharing, just as Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama have.
Futhermore, most of the areas on the OCS are still restricted and it has been estimated that more than 80% of the recoverable oil on the OCS will still be off-limits.
"This legislation does nothing to address the energy concerns of our country," said Goodlatte. "This legislation only makes the situation worse and it is the product of a flawed process that does not have bipartisan support. "If we really want to make our country energy independent, this Congress must pass an energy bill that allows and encourages the development of our nation's resources. Americans are tired of Congress playing politics when they are in desperate need of relief from high energy costs. It is time for Congress to get serious and allow Americans increased access to their energy resources."
Last month Congressman Goodlatte introduced the "Virginia Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Act". This important legislation, H.R. 6781, allows Virginia's Governor to petition the Department of Interior for a targeted waiver from the current moratorium to explore for natural gas and crude oil in the waters on the Outer Continental Shelf.
"The Virginia OCS Act" allows Virginia to request oil and natural gas exploration activities off its coast. Should these exploration activities prove fruitful, then the legislation would allow Virginia to petition for drilling for these precious resources. This bill does not mandate that Virginia explore or drill off its coast. It simply removes the federal government's longstanding barriers to these activities. The final decision of whether to explore or drill is placed squarely where it should be - in the hands of the people of Virginia, through our state legislature and Governor.
"Virginians understand that a major component in lessening energy costs is to produce more energy," said Congressman Goodlatte. "I believe that Virginia should have every tool available to access its energy supplies and have a right to the revenue that is generated from such exploration."
"The Virginia OCS Act" states that all revenue generated from extraction of these resources are shared evenly with the state and federal government, with the federal share going to the Clean Energy Fund. Seventy-five percent of the Commonwealth's share will be used to fund various state projects including education, transportation, tax reductions, coastal and environmental restoration, energy infrastructure and projects, alternative energy development, and energy efficiency and conservation. The other twenty-five percent would be split 12.5 percent to provide assistance to Virginia through the Land and Water Conservation fund and 12.5 percent to a reserve fund to address other environmental issues.
"The Virginia OCS Act" has been referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources.