Support H.R. 6, the Energy Policy Act of 2003
April 10, 2003
To the United States House of Representatives:
On behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (U.S. Chamber), the world's largest business federation, representing more than three million businesses of every size, sector, and region, I urge you to support H.R. 6, the Energy Policy Act of 2003, and oppose any amendments that would weaken this essential legislation to implement a comprehensive national energy policy.
The unprecedented growth of America's economy over the past quarter century has rapidly outpaced our ability to develop and deliver the diverse energy supplies our nation needs to sustain this economic growth. H.R. 6 will help ensure that the country has adequate and affordable future energy supplies, thereby stemming the potentially crippling U.S. reliance on foreign energy resources. This legislation represents policy based on dozens of hearings, scores of expert reports, and significant work by four House committees. This legislation, when enacted, will encourage:
- greater conservation of existing energy resources;
- environmentally compatible exploration and production of new domestic energy supplies;
- research to develop and expand alternative and renewable energy resources;
- investment in the infrastructure necessary to transmit and transport energy; and
- measures to ensure energy remains affordable, reliable, and available for all Americans.
However, several amendments will be considered that, if adopted, will upset the balance achieved in H.R. 6. The U.S. Chamber urges you to oppose these weakening amendments that would undo the carefully crafted compromises contained in H.R. 6. Among the weakening amendments the U.S. Chamber opposes are:
CAFE — An amendment to be offered by Representatives Boehlert and Markey that would mandate a significant increase in Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for light trucks and SUVs. It would restrict consumer choice, cost American jobs, and would divert scarce resources away from advanced technology programs to improve fuel efficiency, occupant protection, and lower emissions. The National Academy of Sciences has raised significant vehicle safety concerns about changes to CAFÉ that are being proposed by opponents of H.R. 6. Furthermore, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently promulgated a final rule raising CAFE standards through 2007. This standard will save some five billion gallons of gasoline over the next seven years.
ELECTRICITY — An amendment to be offered by Representative Dingell that would replace the entire electricity title. The electricity title represents a delicate and thoughtful compromise that not only protects state and regional interests, but also consumers. The amendment is significantly redundant in providing for enforcement and penalty provisions that already exist in the bill, or as current federal law. Moreover, the amendment would strike important sections that provide transmission incentives and siting provisions, eliminate anticompetitive regulations, and delete language that ensures consumers are not forced to pay above-market electricity rates.
ANWR — An amendment to be offered by Representatives Markey and Johnson that would prevent exploration for new energy resources within the U.S. by blocking oil and gas development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). Opening production in ANWR would be an important step in reducing U.S. dependence on foreign energy sources. H.R. 6 would allow exploration in a very small part of ANWR and would require that all exploration be conducted in accordance with some of the most stringent environmental controls ever proposed.
OUTER CONTINENTAL SHELF INVENTORY — An amendment to be offered by Representative Capps that would strike the provision directing the Secretary of the Interior, in consultation with coastal states, to conduct an inventory of natural gas and oil resources on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). The oil and gas reserves in the OCS are vital to safeguarding America's energy supply. This important inventory is necessary to understand where these resources are located.
OIL AND GAS DEVELOPMENT — An amendment to be offered by Representative Kind that would strike the entire oil and natural gas development section. Oil and natural gas resources are vital to ensuring America's energy supply can even begin to keep pace with demand. In the last 25 years, America's energy use has grown more than twice as fast as domestic energy production, and is expected to increase by nearly 50 percent more in the next 25 years. Current production rates are not keeping up with demand and the only way to stem this trend is to eliminate the regulatory barriers currently preventing access to these resources, and to encourage America's energy producers to recover these resources in an environmentally sound manner.
The U.S. Chamber, however, remains concerned about one provision in the tax portion of the energy bill that would place a moratorium on so-called "corporate inversions." We believe that it misses the point and fails to address the root of the problem - inequities in the tax code that place U.S. corporations at a disadvantage compared to their foreign-based competitors. Moreover, it has no place in the energy bill. We urge the House to remove this provision from H.R. 6 as the bill moves through the process.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce urges you to vote for H.R. 6 and oppose all weakening amendments. We will consider including votes on, or in relation to, H.R. 6 including the amendments listed above in our annual How They Voted scorecard.
R. Bruce Josten
Executive Vice President, Government Affairs
U.S. Chamber of Commerce