Letter Opposing H.R. 6, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007
December 17, 2007
TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world's largest business federation representing
more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region, urges you to oppose H.R. 6, the "Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007."
The Chamber is pleased that the Senate-passed version of H.R. 6 does not include the
renewable electricity standard and tax title passed by the House earlier this month. However, the Chamber still cannot support this latest version of the Energy Independence and Security Act.
H.R. 6 still compromises the nation's national security by discouraging production of valuable
domestic oil and gas supplies, forcing the nation to rely even more on foreign oil and gas
imports. H.R. 6 also still includes provisions mandating application of the Davis-Bacon Act.
H.R. 6 calls for a renewable fuels standard (RFS) of 36 billion gallons by 2022, with 21
billion of these gallons to be met with "advanced biofuels," or non-corn-based biofuels. The bill
does not, however, adequately address such critical issues as: (1) where the U.S. intends to
secure enough water (from an already-scarce supply) so that it may grow enough corn and other
biomass to meet the mandate; (2) how the nation will protect against formation of "dead zones"
of oxygen-depleted water caused by increased farming and irrigation to meet the mandate; (3)
how the U.S. intends to transport 36 billion gallons of ethanol, given that current pipeline
systems are not compatible; and (4) the effect the increased burning of ethanol will have on
background levels of ozone, a pollutant currently regulated by EPA under the Clean Air Act.
The Chamber is also concerned about the inclusion, in various sections, of provisions that
mandate the application of the Davis-Bacon Act to construction projects supported by this bill.
The Chamber has long felt that the Davis-Bacon Act unnecessarily increases the costs of federal construction and makes participation by smaller and minority contractors less likely.
Finally, the Chamber acknowledges that Section 210(b) of the renewable fuels title
contains a savings clause ensuring that the RFS will not trigger "Prevention of Significant
Deterioration" (PSD) permitting authority for all major stationary sources that potentially emit
more than 100 or 250 tons of CO2 per year. However, this "fix" only cured the energy bill as it
pertains to PSD, and did not solve the larger problem that will be created by various agency
actions on the horizon, particularly if EPA takes steps to regulate CO2 under any section of the
Clean Air Act. Without a legislative fix from Congress, so-called major sources of CO2—which
could include hundreds of thousands, even millions, of new and existing buildings—will not be
able to commence any construction on their buildings without obtaining a PSD permit, a process that typically takes years and, depending on the size of the project, can cost millions of dollars.
The Chamber looks forward to working with Congress to address this important issue.
For all the foregoing reasons, the Chamber urges you to vote against H.R. 6.
R. Bruce Josten