Wednesday, April 01, 2009

House Republicans Roll Out Budget Alternative: Energy Focus

Apr 1: As the debate on the budget begins in the House and Senate, House and Senate Republicans held a press conference on the East Front Steps of the U.S. Capitol to discuss the Democrats’ budget and the Republican alternative. The complete document is available from the link below, however, the following focuses only on the Republican's Energy proposals.

Republicans said their budget: Spends $4.8 trillion less than the Democrats’ budget over 10 years; Brings debt under control, borrowing $3.6 trillion less than the Obama budget over 10 years; Does not raise taxes; Creates 2.1 million more Jobs than the Democrats’ Budget; and Funds National Priorities.

The Republican Energy budget indicates that, "Despite abundant domestic resources, the Federal government has adopted policies that largely prevent domestic production of oil and natural gas. Significant reserves are believed to be located in the Outer Continental Shelf, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the Intermountain West, and various other Federal lands. Most of these resources remain off limits due to the misguided notion that America cannot produce oil and gas in an environmentally responsible way. . . The substitute budget assumes increased revenues from bonus bids, rents, royalties, and fees from more domestic development of abundant U.S. reserves of oil and gas. . . U.S. environmental laws and regulations have recently been abused by special interest groups to block or delay otherwise safe energy projects. . . Many of these suits are brought by special interest groups that are opposed to all forms of domestic energy production, regardless of their merit. . . To address this problem, this budget calls for a review and streamlining of environmental laws and regulations that apply to energy production within 360 days of adoption."

The Republican Energy budget indicates, "The U.S. cannot ignore the strategic value that coal provides. The U.S. must aggressively pursue the development and deployment of clean coal technologies so that our cheapest, most abundant energy source remains a vital component of our energy mix. The substitute budget assumes a significant level of new funding for a clean energy technology fund, part of which will invest in new clean coal technology. . . This budget assumes funding for supporting new nuclear energy technologies and the adoption of policies that encourage more development of nuclear power.

The Republican budget "rejects the President’s and the Majority’s proposed cap-and-trade scheme. The budget also rejects the President’s philosophy that 'electricity prices would necessarily skyrocket' under his cap and trade plan. There is nothing more unnecessary than artificially causing power prices to skyrocket, especially for a policy that can be accomplished without draconian prices increases."

The budget also "rejects the President’s proposed $31 billion-$80 billion tax increase on domestic oil and natural gas producers. Studies show that every $1 billion invested in the oil and gas industry creates 5,400 jobs that pay an average of $45 per hour versus the national average of $17 per hour. On that basis, the President’s tax increases could cost the economy 167,000 to 432,000 jobs, and would undoubtedly increase U.S. dependence on foreign oil."

The Republican budget indicates, "Recent studies show, however, a much greater revenue potential for expanded oil and gas production than assumed by CBO. The American Energy Alliance [AEA] predicts that as much as $11.1 billion in annual Federal revenues, and $4.8 billion in State revenues, would accrue during the pre-production phase of expanded oil and gas development, leading to 270,000 additional jobs. Once full-scale production is achieved, AEA predicts up to 1.2 million new jobs will result, leading to $69 billion in annual Federal revenue and $18.7 billion in State revenue."

The Republican budget indicates, "The substitute budget offers a clear path forward toward ending dependence on foreign oil, deploying clean energy technologies, improving highways, and addressing deficit reduction, all without raising a single dollar of new taxes or causing energy prices to 'skyrocket,' which would kill jobs and harm the economy."

Access a video from the press conference (
click here). Access a 2-page summary of the Republican budget proposal (click here). Access the complete 64-page Republican budget proposal (click here). Access additional information on the Republican budget proposal (click here). [*Energy, *Climate]