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Chamber Welcomes Overdue Agreement on Energy Bill Urges Congress to Pass Bill Now

Thursday, November 13, 2003 - 7:00pm

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The United States Chamber of Commerce today praised the House and Senate energy conferees for finally reaching an agreement on the framework of a comprehensive energy bill that will increase supplies, improve conservation and address the challenges within our electricity infrastructure.

"The long road to a comprehensive national energy plan is nearly at an end," said Bruce Josten, Chamber executive vice president. "And all the road signs have pointed to a finish that will help ensure energy stability and capacity to help us meet our nation's demands for the future."

The details of a compromise deal reportedly include incentives for domestic energy production, new conservation initiatives, provisions to spur upgrades to the nation's aging energy infrastructure, and an increase in ethanol use. It does not include a Bush-backed provision to open portions of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration.

Final approval of the energy bill – which could come as early as next week – is essential to ease consumers' worries about increasing natural gas prices, fuel economic growth, encourage wiser and more efficient use of energy and shore up our nation's future economic and national security, according to the Chamber.

"For American business, workers and consumers, our nation's limited capacity to meet growing energy demand has been ignored too long," Josten said. "With this compromise – and the President's signature following final congressional action – we can put a national energy plan to work in support of our economic growth curve."

By 2025, the Energy Information Administration estimates that the U.S. will need 43 percent more energy – including 47 percent more petroleum, 54 percent more natural gas, 34 percent more coal, 54 percent more electricity, and 65 percent more renewable energy – just to meet the energy needs of a growing economy and growing population.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world's largest business federation representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector and region.

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