Release Date: Mar 31, 2011Contact: 888-249-NEWS
U.S. Chamber’s Harbert Offers Solutions to Energy Challenges In Testimony Before Congress
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy told lawmakers today that reversing federal policies that have restricted development of America’s natural energy resources is the key to creating jobs and addressing increasing energy challenges.
Testifying before the House Committee on Natural Resources at a hearing to address the rising cost of gasoline, Karen Harbert called for a reversal of the Administration’s policies that are preventing exploration across America, especially in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska.
“It is clear that misguided federal policies are contributing to the recent gasoline price spike,” Harbert said. “Reversing these policies presents a ready-made solution for the administration and Congress.”
Harbert pointed out that 97% of federal off-shore lands and 94% of federal on-shore lands are not leased at a time when America is spending $265 billion to import petroleum and related products from foreign sources. Over 270 permits are pending for exploration in the Gulf of Mexico, according to the Department of Justice, while leases that have already been paid for and issued have remained idle for four years in Alaska due to government delays.
“We have an abundance of resources, but from its earliest days, the Obama Administration has continually been taking land and coastal areas off the table for oil and gas production by canceling onshore leases, imposing a moratorium on exploration and production in the Gulf of Mexico, and proposing a leasing plan that prevents us from developing more resources for the next five years,” Harbert said.
Pointing to vast resources from Canada, Harbert said, “America should also not ignore our most reliable and largest supplier of imported oil, Canada. Congress should repeal a provision that could prohibit oil from the Alberta oil sands from being used by our government, and the Administration should move quickly to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, which would supply more than 1 million barrels of oil per day and create 15,000 jobs immediately.”
Harbert also highlighted other proposals that would have a negative effect on our economy and could increase energy prices, such as “Use it or Lose it” penalties, which would require companies to begin producing on a lease within a set time period or else risk losing the lease.
“Penalizing companies for being responsible and complying with government requirements by imposing “Use it or Lose it” penalties will drive them elsewhere,” Harbert said. “In addition, other proposals on the table, such as selling oil stocks from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and raising taxes on oil companies, would take us in the wrong direction.”
Harbert testified that selling oil stocks from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve would not reduce prices appreciably, but could leave America vulnerable to future geopolitical instability. In addition, she reminded lawmakers that previous attempts to increase taxes on oil and gas companies resulted in lower domestic production, lower federal revenue, and higher imports.”
The mission of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for 21st Century Energy is to unify policymakers, regulators, business leaders, and the American public behind a common sense energy strategy to help keep America secure, prosperous, and clean. Through policy development, education, and advocacy, the Institute is building support for meaningful action at the local, state, national, and international levels.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.
# # #