SAFE Passage? Coalitions', officials' and environmentalists' statements on energy bill
Following is a sampling of nonprofit and other press releases regarding the Bush administration's energy plan and the "Securing America's Future Energy Act of 2001" (or SAFE's) subsequent passage by the US House of Representatives.
REPP does not endorse any position and makes this material available as a courtesy. The bill is available online from Thomas: Legislative information on the Internet.
Sustainable Energy Coalition*
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jamie Shor (202) 299.0577
August 2, 2001
Sustainable Energy Coalition Blasts House of Representatives for Passing a Shortsighted and Dirty Energy Plan
Drilling and Nukes get big boost from Congress
(Washington, DC) ö The Sustainable Energy Coalition (SEC) today expressed its tremendous disappointment with the energy bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill sets back national energy policy by giving hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks to oil, natural gas, mining and nuclear power industries despite concerns from business and environmental leaders and technical experts that such actions are substandard public policy.
The following are a few examples of why the bill is a dirty energy plan:
- Three-fourths of the $33.5 billion energy tax credits approved by the House go to the fossil and nuclear industries. The Wall Street Journal reported July 30th that the big oil companies are struggling to spend their cash as they reap their largest profits ever. Royal Dutch/Shell Group, for example, is earning $1.5 million in profit an hour and has $11 billion in the bank
- The House defeated an amendment that would have required significant increases in fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks. Instead, the bill includes a token 1-mile per gallon increase in standards for SUVs only.
- The bill would open up the pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drill for what will yield only a six-month supply of oil over several decades.
ãIt is astonishing that in the 21st century we are still relying in many ways on century-old technologies to serve our energy needs,ä said Susanna Drayne, National Coordinator of the Sustainable Energy Coalition. ãThe billâs emphasis on fossil fuels is shortsighted, detrimental to public health and the environment, and is corporate welfare of the worst order. Why spend billions of dollars on the highly profitable dirtiest polluters with the most mature markets? The backers of this plan clearly define nuclear power as an innovative technology rather than the health and safety threat it is.ä In short, the bill fails to develop a national energy policy that addresses climate change, environmental protection, national security, or economic development.
The plan passed by the House calls for insufficient investment in renewable energy technologies such as biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, and wind, and inadequate commitment to energy efficiency technologies. This is not a balanced energy policy ö it tips a highly unbalanced playing field even further.
The Bush Administrationâs focus on building new power plants and drilling for more oil will not solve the nationâs energy problems alone. ãBoth building and drilling take years until they yield an energy supply, and even then, much of the work is purely speculative.ä Drayne noted. ãBoth also contribute significantly to the degradation of the environment. Given the nationâs current immediate energy needs and worsening global warming, now is not the time to de-emphasize energy efficiency and renewable energy programs.ä While the rest of the world has agreed that global warming emissions must be reduced, the House bill would result in increased emissions.
*The Sustainable Energy Coalition brings together more than 30 national business, environmental, consumer, and energy policy organizations. Founded in 1992, the Coalition promotes increased federal support for energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and reduced federal support for unsafe or polluting energy resources. Coalition members advocate federal energy policies that will lead to a cleaner environment, safe reliable energy technologies, and a secure, prosperous future for all Americans.
The American Public Power Association**
For information: Madalyn Cafruny, 202/467-2952
Public Power Applauds House Energy Bill
WASHINGTON, D.C., July 31, 2001 ö Public power electric utilities support the provisions
of H.R. 4, the Save Americaâs Future Energy Act of 2001, said Alan H. Richardson, president &
CEO, American Public Power Association, as the House of Representatives was expected to begin
floor consideration of the comprehensive energy bill.
Richardson commended the bill as a bipartisan effort to increase production, supply,
transportation, and conservation of domestic energy resources. ãAPPA supports the concept of a
national energy policy and believes this bill offers the best possible strategic remedies to providefor Americaâs energy future. The bill also has an excellent chance of passage since it has widesupport within the industry, and there has been general agreement to save controversial elementsof electricity policy making for later this fall.ä
The legislation includes a number of provisions of particular interest to not-for-profit
public power systems, including language intended to modernize regulation of how cities and
towns can issue tax-exempt bonds for electricity infrastructure.
The bill also includes language: streamlining the licensing and relicensing processes for
hydroelectric facilities; supporting development of clean coal technology; and extending and
reforming the Renewable Energy Production Incentive (REPI) program, which will enable public
power systems to receive incentives equal to those for investor-owned electric utilities for
renewable energy production.
**The American Public Power Association is the national service organization representing the nationâs more than
2,000 community- and state-owned electric utilities.
Natural Resources Defense Council***
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press contact: Alyssondra Campaigne, 202-289-2402 or 202-744-2071 (cell) or Elliott Negin, 202-289-2405 or 202-997-1472 (cell)
If you are not a member of the press, please write to email@example.com or see NRDC's contact page.
NRDC Denounces House Energy Bill as the 'More Pollution Solution'
Group says bill would threaten environment, wilderness areas and public health, and dramatically increase global warming pollution
WASHINGTON (August 1, 2001) - The House energy bill lawmakers approved today is a grossly unbalanced response to America's energy problems, according to NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). It would threaten the environment and public health, rip off taxpayers by subsidizing the worst polluting energy industries, despoil public lands, and exacerbate global warming.
"This bill is a license to drill, burn and pollute," said Alyssondra Campaigne, NRDC's legislative director. "Overall it represents a craven capitulation to the auto, oil, coal and nuclear industries at the expense of the environment and public health. If we increased average fuel efficiency to 40 miles per gallon we could save more than 15 times what oil companies could economically recover from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge -- and save consumers billions of dollars a year at the pump. Politics trumped science in the House today."
In particular, NRDC blasted the bill because:
- It offers a $33.5-billion gold mine of taxpayer-financed subsidies -- 75 percent going to coal, oil, gas and nuclear energy. Despite references to "energy efficiency" and "conservation," only a quarter of the bill's tax credits would go to promote greater efficiency or renewable energy sources.
- It would expand our reliance on coal, the dirtiest form of power generation, which would mean more deaths from particulate air pollution, more global warming, more poisoned water and more scarred land. The bill includes three provisions that promote so-called "clean coal" technology that add up to a 10-year, $6 billion program -- three times more than what the Bush energy plan proposed.
- It would open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling, even though that would yield only a six-month supply of oil spread over many decades.
- It offers only a sham increase in vehicle fuel efficiency -- equivalent to just one day's oil consumption per year -- even though the National Academy of Sciences has found that much larger increases would pay for themselves in fuel savings. Further, the tax credit for hybrid vehicles -- which originally scaled the size of the tax credit to the amount of mileage improvement -- has been grossly distorted by giving the full credit to minor improvements from the most gas-guzzling SUVs.
"There is a better way," said Campaigne. "The quickest, cleanest and cheapest way to meet our energy needs is a program that improves energy efficiency, increases fuel economy, and invests in clean, renewable energy sources."
***The Natural Resources Defense Council is a national, non-profit organization of scientists, lawyers and environmental specialists dedicated to protecting public health and the environment. Founded in 1970, NRDC has more than 500,000 members nationwide, served from offices in New York, Washington, Los Angeles and San Francisco
Republicans for a Responsible Energy Plan****
Republican Officials Urge President and Congress to Adopt Energy Plan that Emphasizes Efficiency, Spares Arctic
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 25, 2001
Jenny Murphy, Fenton Communications, 202/822-5200
Jan Vertefeuille, EMS, 202/463-6670
Washington - Republican elected officials and lifelong party members today launched a new inititiative, Republicans for a Responsible Energy Plan. U.S. Rep. Sherwood Boehlert [statement] joined members at a press conference, where Susan Eisenhower made her first public statement on the environment, calling for protection of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, created during her grandfather's presidency.
As Congress prepares to debate national energy legislation, Republicans for a Responsible Energy Plan released a letter to President Bush -- signed by more than 300 Republican Party members and officeholders -- urging him to put more emphasis on energy conservation, protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and return the Republican Party to its long tradition of environmentalism.
More than three dozen Republican state and local elected officials and activists also attended the press conference to lend their support. Click here for a list of attendees.
Among the speakers were:
Susan Eisenhower, author and foreign policy expert:
"I believe efficiency and conservation are inevitable and it's a mystery to me why the Republican Party doesn't get ahead of this issue. I'm particularly interested in the drilling issue (in the Arctic refuge). I certainly don't question anyone's motives, but I have to say, this is one of our last great resources. This is precisely why the Eisenhower administration put aside this land as a refuge. A refuge to me means a land of last resort. I take my grandfather's legacy in Alaska very seriously.
"One of the arguments being used by people in support of drilling is that we need to reduce our dependence on foreign supplies. I'm happy to report that the Cold War is over. We have the opportunity to find our energy sources elsewhere while putting together a comprehensive energy plan."
Martha Marks, president of REP America (Republicans for Environmental Protection):
"We have come from across the country to announce a new initiative within the Republican Party. We're focusing on getting the Republican Party back on track and developing a responsible energy plan that the American people can enthusiastically support. We are here to urge GOP leaders to move away from the administration's fossil fuel-based energy plan. Fossil fuels are finite resources that carry terrible environmental baggage. They are yesterday's technology. We can do better.
"Instead, we want our leaders to develop a forward-looking energy plan that encourages efficiency, not waste; stimulates the development of new technologies; takes aggressive steps to curb greenhouse gases while there is still time to stave off global warming; and protects America's special places."
Theodore Roosevelt IV, managing director of Lehman Brothers in New York and Bush delegate at last year's GOP convention:
"We are here today to support and bolster moderate Republicans in the House who are soldiering forth to protect our environment and natural resources as the American people want us to do. The concern and knowledge of the American people on environmental issues has been sorely underestimated, and I fear that their patience is being sorely tested.
"When the administration talks about 'balancing' environmental and energy needs, the American people recognize a key problem: those needs are not currently in balance. We are sacrificing vital natural resources in lieu of making real investments in current efficiency and future energy technologies. That failure will undercut the competitiveness of American industry."
Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY):
"A lot of people think Republicans don't give a damn about the environment. A lot of people are wrong. The Republican Party has a rich history of environmental protection.
"The bills reported by House committees last week place increased emphasis on conservation and renewable energy · . But all in all, the current House energy package does not go far enough. It still is too focused on energy production. We need to defeat attempts to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling. We need to significantly increase CAF E standards. We need to ensure that our energy supply programs address environmental concerns. I will be working to accomplish these goals. And I will be bolstered by the knowledge of what is made so clear today -- that Republicans all across this country, from all walks of life, support efforts like mine to ensure that environmental concerns are addressed in this historic energy debate."
Russell Train, EPA administrator under Presidents Nixon and Ford:
"What is needed now is leadership -- leadership from the White House. I think the Republican Party has an opportunity to take the lead in this area, which Democrats would have trouble doing. Sort of like Nixon going to Beijing or Moscow -- he could do it.
"It does take leadership. Leadership from the Republican Party is what I think we need now."
****Republicans for a Responsible Energy Plan asserts that America needs an energy policy that emphasizes efficiency, conservation and clean, renewable energy sources.
American Public Power Association, www.appanet.org
Environmental Media Services, www.ems.org
Natural Resources Defense Council, www.nrdc.org
Sustainable Energy Coalition, www.sustainableenergy.org