Letter Supporting H.R. 6709, the "National Environment, Conservation and Energy Independence Act of 2008"
August 1, 2008
TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENATIVES:
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, congratulates Reps. Peterson, Abercrombie, Costa and Burton for their leadership, and strongly urges you to cosponsor H.R. 6709, the "National Environment, Conservation and Energy Independence Act of 2008." Many of the initiatives in this bipartisan legislation will have a meaningful impact on short- and long-term energy prices. At the very top of this list are the provisions in Title I of the bill, which allow for increased exploration and production of oil, oil shale, natural gas and other fuels on onshore and offshore federal lands, including the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).
The drafters of H.R. 6709 recognize that Americans are feeling an increasing amount of pain from fuel costs at home, at the office and at the pump. However, the 110th Congress has thus far failed to approve any legislation in response that addresses the fundamental energy supply and demand imbalances causing high fuel costs. By repealing the Congressional moratoria on onshore and offshore energy production, H.R. 6709 can help our lawmakers overcome failed polices of the past. 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.
Similarly, extension of the energy incentives in Title II of the bill supports investment in new technologies that expand alternative energy and allow us to use traditional sources more cleanly and efficiently. Extension of these incentives—provided they are not financed through taxes on, or repeals of credits to, other energy sources—will go a long way toward the development of the renewable and alternative energy technologies essential to our nation's energy future.
The Chamber strongly supports H.R. 6709, and urges all Members who want to make a difference in the energy debate to cosponsor this bill.
R. Bruce Josten