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Committee Leaders Request Detailed Government Audit of Federal Spending in Energy Markets

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Republican members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee today wrote to U.S. Comptroller General and head of the Government Accountability Office Gene Dodaro requesting a study of federal spending used to support energy-related technologies. Full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY), Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA), and Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) are requesting the study in response to concerns over the dramatic growth of spending and subsidies in energy markets. This study will provide long-overdue analysis on how this increased federal support affects the energy sector and our overall economy.

The members wrote, "As a result of various federal policies, such as those included in the Energy Policy Act of 1992, the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the amounts and types of energy-targeted federal subsidies have grown substantially. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the "value of direct federal financial interventions and subsidies in energy markets doubled between 2007 and 2010, growing from $17.9 billion to $37.2 billion.' Further, energy-specific tax expenditures alone are five times higher than they were in 1999, increasing from $3.2 billion in 1999 to over $16.2 billion in 2010."

The members continued, "Despite the expansion and extension of federal support for energy technologies, there is not a thorough understanding of how such federal interventions and subsidies are impacting -- either positively or negatively -- the energy sector and corresponding energy markets. In order to provide Congress with a complete accounting of the subsidies being provided, and an evaluation of their respective impacts, costs, and benefits, we request that GAO undertake a study of the federal subsidies in energy markets provided from fiscal year 2003 through fiscal year 2012. Such a study will allow policymakers to make informed, fiscally responsible decisions in support of a national energy policy that best utilizes federal expenditures while eliminating wasteful and duplicative spending."

Reps. Pompeo and Murphy inserted similar language requiring GAO to complete a study of U.S. and foreign subsidies in energy markets into the "No More Solyndras Act" when it advanced through the committee.

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