Letter Opposing Cloture on S. 3268, the "Stop Excessive Energy Speculation Act of 2008," and S. 3186, the "Warm in Winter and Cool in Summer Act"
July 24, 2008
TO THE MEMBERS OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE:
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 Congress to expeditiously pass legislation to expand domestic oil and gas production. To this end, the Chamber strongly opposes cloture on S. 3268, the "Stop Excessive Energy Speculation Act of 2008," and S. 3186, the "Warm in Winter and Cool in Summer Act," because cloture would prevent the Senate from including any "real" energy provisions in either of these bills.
American consumers are paying record gas prices that increase almost daily, yet the 110th Congress has responded by actively preventing the consideration of any meaningful legislation to expand domestic production. Speculation and home heating assistance are important issues that Congress should consider, but both pale in comparison to the basic economic supply and demand issues that this Congress has failed to address. The Senate cannot and should not neglect this latest opportunity to pass legislation that would make a real impact on rising energy prices.
The Chamber therefore urges the Senate to overcome failed polices of the past by repealing the Congressional moratorium on OCS energy production. The National Petroleum Council estimates that the banned OCS areas in the lower 48 states contain roughly 18 billion barrels of oil and 76 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. However, this data is 25 to 40 years old, and resources are estimated to be well beyond these amounts. According to the Minerals Management Service, the OCS contains 420 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and more than 85 billion barrels of oil. That amount of natural gas would heat all residential homes for about 93 years, and the oil would fuel 82 million cars for 35 years.
American consumers want relief from rising energy prices, and opening the OCS to exploration is a great start. The Chamber urges you to oppose cloture on S. 3268 and S. 3186 so that the debate on energy can continue, and so that the Senate can vote on proposals to increase domestic energy supply. The Chamber may consider votes on, or in relation to, this issue in our annual How They Voted scorecard.
R. Bruce Josten