From today’s Examiner editorial, “Energy bill is mostly pain, little gain.”
House Democrats are pushing an energy bill that has some good and not-so-good provisions. But one thing is clear: While consumers will soon see longer lines at gas stations and be hit with much higher heating and cooling costs, there’s nothing in the bill to increase domestic energy production. This means that when gas and electricity prices go up, they’re not coming down.
The editorial takes an on-the-one-hand, on-the-other-hand approach toward the $16 billion in tax increases the bill imposes on energy companies, but then reaches a clear conclusion, one we share.
[This] $16 billion will inevitably be passed on to drivers at the pump, at the same time oil companies should be investing in new technology to extract hard-to-reach domestic deposits. Specifically tailoring the tax benefit to increase domestic production instead of simply eliminating it would have been a much better idea.
Then there’s the stick, a mandate requiring investor-owned utilities to generate at least 15 of their electrical power from renewable sources, which now account for only 3 percent of the nation’s energy. This draconian measure will drive consumers’ electric bills up substantially with little corresponding drop in oil use. This is because most of the petroleum consumed in the U.S. is for transportation-related activities. Coal currently provides over half of the nation’s electricity, yet this energy bill curiously includes no provision for more efficient use of this abundant natural resource.
NAM President John Engler has a recommendation for House and Senate members, the conclusion of his Engler’s weekly message (on the NAM front page here).
Congress needs to use the August recess to reconsider its energy legislation, to reconnect with the real-world, energy-dependent economy that employs America’s men and women. And if Congress wants to be serious about energy reforms, it’s time our elected officials acknowledge that our nation’s vast energy supplies are an economic strength, not an environmental liability.
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