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Letter to Patty Murry and Jeb Hernsarling, Co-Chairs of Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction


Location: Washington, DC

Today, six Members of Congress sent a bipartisan letter authored by Congressmen Mike Thompson (D-St. Helena, CA) and John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, CA) to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, commonly referred to as the "Super Committee," urging them to "maintain the current revenue sharing for counties as it pertains to geothermal receipts."

"The geothermal energy produced in California's counties is not only good for our environment, it reduces our dependence on foreign oil and helps our economy by spurring green job creation," said Thompson. "The best way to reduce the deficit is by creating jobs because more jobs means greater revenues and less need for government assistance. If a community invests in developing geothermal energy they deserve to get their fair share in returns. I am strongly against cutting counties' share of geothermal revenue because that means cutting jobs, crippling future green job growth, and stifling our economic recovery -- all of which will only make our deficit larger."

Members joining in the call to preserve geothermal energy revenue sharing include Representatives Mark Amodei (R-Carson City, NV), Lynn Woolsey (D-Petaluma, CA), Shelley Berkley (D-Las Vegas, NV), and Bob Filner (D-San Diego, CA). The Representatives joined in the call to promote energy independence and preserve this vital source of revenue for the counties that produce geothermal energy.

"Geothermal energy is a crucial clean resource for creating jobs and securing our energy independence," said Garamendi. "It is in our economic and national security interests to make our energy in America, which is why it's critical for the federal government to continue cultivating an environment for geothermal development."

Garamendi continued, "Communities that bear the burden of geothermal development deserve a fair share of its revenue. I strongly oppose any attempt to deprive these counties of funds for essential local services, including education and public safety."

"Geothermal royalties are extremely important to Lake County and it is absolutely essential that the federal government continue allocating a portion of these revenues to counties in order to help mitigate the local impacts of geothermal development," said Kelly Cox, Lake County Administrative Officer. "Congressman Thompson's leadership on this issue has been outstanding. He and Congressman Garamendi completely understand why it would be wrong to take these revenues away from counties. Their continuing efforts to protect our community's interests are very much appreciated."

"Geothermal energy brings jobs and growth to Nevada with 20 plants in operation providing clean, reliable electrical capacity to the grid and significant additional capacity under development," said Congressman Amodei. "Given the important role of the counties in the development of this domestic energy source, it's only proper that they should share in the revenue of the federal receipts."

"These geothermal receipts provide an important source of income for Imperial County, in my district. By promoting geothermal development and investing in renewable energy, we can create jobs for Americans!" said Congressman Filner.

"Geothermal not only provides vital clean energy to power homes and businesses, it also creates good jobs in Nevada and I strongly support the continued expansion of this industry. At a time when counties in my home State are struggling to fund schools, public safety and other essential services for families, we must protect revenues from geothermal production that are now shared with local communities. Repealing the provision that provides these critical local dollars from geothermal royalties will only hurt county governments -- whether in Nevada or other states -- by limiting the resources they have available for economic development to create more jobs and to provide for the needs of those who call the towns and cities in these areas home," said Congresswoman Shelley Berkley.

"Geothermal energy is exactly the kind of renewable resource we should be investing in to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and point the way toward a sustainable future," Congresswoman Woolsey said. "I join my colleagues in urging the Super Committee to preserve these subsidies, which support green jobs and help localities continue delivering vital services."

Please find the full text of the letter below.

November 16, 2011

The Honorable Patty Murray
Co-Chair, Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction
448 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Jeb Hensarling
Co-Chair, Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction
129 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairwoman Murray and Chairman Hensarling:

We are writing to request that the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction maintain the current revenue sharing for counties as it pertains to geothermal receipts.

In the bipartisan Energy Policy Act of 2005, Congress decided that because of the high burdens geothermal production places on the counties where geothermal development is located, these counties should share in the revenue of the federal receipts. In turn, counties have used these revenues to pay for critical governmental services, such as road maintenance, public safety and law enforcement, and conservation easements. This revenue sharing has also made counties vested partners, and ultimately champions, in the continued development of geothermal energy--a clean, renewable, and domestic energy source.

There have been numerous proposals to discontinue geothermal revenue sharing for counties, including a provision in the President's Plan for Economic Growth and Deficit Reduction. We are strongly opposed to this provision. Ending the geothermal revenue sharing plan would have a significant negative impact on our districts, while the overall effect on our nation's fiscal well-being would be miniscule. Many of the counties that receive revenue from geothermal receipts are small, rural counties facing precarious budget situations. The loss of such revenue for these counties could result in the elimination or reduction of essential services. As such, we urge you not to include the repeal of geothermal revenue sharing with counties in any final agreement you may reach.

We appreciate your attention to this issue and look forward to working with you as you prepare your deficit reduction plan.


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