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Smith: Dem Energy Bill Does Nothing but Provide Political Cover

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Congressman Lamar Smith today opposed HR 6899 - the energy bill drafted in secret by the Democratic Majority -- calling it a cynical hoax that claims to open American off-shore oil and gas to development, but actually prohibits exploration of 80 to 85 percent of those vast resources.

"This Democratic plan will continue to make the United States the only nation in the world that refuses to use its own resources to solve its own problems," said Congressman Smith.

Late Monday night, in violation of their own rules allowing 24 hours to review a bill, House Democrats released a 290-page bill that was written by their Leadership behind closed doors without any input from House Republicans. Because of public pressure, Democrats are trying to demonstrate that they are in favor of developing American energy, but their legislation will achieve the opposite.

According to CQ Today, "Democrats appear to be aiming to bring their bill up for a vote in order to say they've held a vote on drilling, and then slamming Republicans who vote against it."

This not the "all of the above" energy strategy favored by two-thirds of the American people. The Democratic plan includes:

• No environmentally responsible exploration on the Arctic coastal plain in Alaska. The Interior Department estimates the 1002 area contains 10.4 billion barrels of oil.

• No expansion of emission-free nuclear power. France relies on nuclear for nearly 80 percent of its electricity needs. The United States, only 20 percent.

• No development of advanced clean coal and coal-to-liquid technologies and resources.

• The Democratic plan funds investment in renewable energy at the expense of American taxpayers. The Republican plan increases investment in renewables through revenues derived from exploration for American energy.

• No real oil shale exploration. The bill discourages environmentally responsible exploration of American oil shale. The Department of Energy estimates that 2 trillion barrels of oil shale exists within the United States.

• No new refineries. No provisions to cut red-tape and increase American refining capacity of American made energy.

• No lawsuit reform to prevent frivolous lawsuits from radical interest groups intent on stopping the environmentally sound exploration of American energy solely for political purposes.

• Tax hikes and price spikes. Despite the fact that Americans are bearing a great economic burden - including high gas prices and soon, with winter coming, record home heating bills - the Democratic plan will raise energy taxes and hike electricity prices. The Democratic bill includes $19 billion in energy tax hikes on American consumers, manufacturers and small businesses.

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