Congress asked to address all US energy production aspects

Two senior Republicans on the US House Oversight and Government Reform Committee issued a report Oct. 28 calling for an approach that addresses all facets of US energy production.

Nick Snow
Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, Oct. 29 -- Two senior Republicans on the US House Oversight and Government Reform Committee issued a report Oct. 28 calling for an approach that addresses all facets of US energy production.

The report also affirms that US energy security and global environmental challenges cannot be effectively addressed separately, according to Thomas M. Davis III (Va.), the full committee's ranking minority member, and Darrel E. Issa (Calif.), ranking minority member of the committee's Domestic Policy Subcommittee.

"We no longer can ignore the fact that energy policy is intertwined with security policy. We can't keep pumping money into the economies of countries dedicated to opposing our interests. For that matter, we can't keep sending billions of dollars overseas every year when we have the means, the technology and the raw materials to alleviate much of our dependence on foreign energy right here at home," Davis said.

"We cannot address the root of many national security concerns, economic troubles or environmental threats without an effective energy strategy. These issues have all become deeply intertwined. An effective energy policy cannot address just the cost of energy today," Issa added.

The report by the committee's minority staff also said an energy and environmental policy "that fails to account for competitiveness concerns will cause the US manufacturing base to shift more American jobs overseas and could actually increase carbon emissions. Any meaningful international agreement to reduce carbon emissions must include the developing world since it is an essential part of the problem and the solution."

'Shortsightedness'
Elsewhere, the report warned that "US consumers, workers, and industry will pay the price for the federal government's shortsightedness" if high energy prices force US companies to relocate "due to policymakers' failure to take actions to produce more oil and gas and encourage needed investment in new efficient technologies and new energy resources that increase the energy supply."

It also charged that the Democratic majority "is [a] captive of the radical elements of the environmental lobby, which sees high gasoline prices as a positive development causing Americans to drive less and buy smaller, more fuel-efficient cars, thus reducing emissions. This is the reason the Democrat majority has vehemently resisted lifting the ban on drilling for oil and gas on federal lands and offshore."

The report said that, while the Democrats have moved closer to allowing more oil and gas activity offshore, the party's congressional leadership, led by Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.), "is trying every trick in their political playbook to reimpose the moratorium on offshore drilling." Reid was attempting to reinstate a ban on finalizing oil shale leasing regulations as the report was being finalized, it said.

The report also said that coal and nuclear power must play a role, that conservation and demand-side management should be included, and that wind, solar, and other renewable technologies should be pursued, "but the reality is that it may take years before any substantial impact is felt." Ethanol and other biofuels hold limited promise, and cellulosic ethanol, which has not been produced commercially, could have negative environmental consequences, it added.

"For private business to invest the massive amounts of money necessary to bring more energy to market, government must foster a predictable and hospitable investment environment. Government can foster investment by sharing some of the risk, constructing a sensible regulatory scheme, and minimizing litigation risk. The investment decisions made today will affect both our emissions profile and energy independence in the future," the report continued.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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