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Press Release

    Letter to Conferees Regarding the Comprehensive Energy Bill

    10/07/2002

    Dear Member of Congress:

    As conferees continue to negotiate the details of a comprehensive energy bill, I write on behalf of the nearly 300,000 members of Citizens for a Sound Economy’s (CSE) grassroots army to urge caution. The Senate-passed version does little to remove the barriers to domestic energy production that currently destabilize energy markets and contains new regulatory provisions that would raise prices, reduce energy availability, and increase costs and limit choices for energy consumers. If these provisions remain intact in the conference report, the resulting bill would deal a significant blow to the interests of consumers.

    The Senate bill contains chilling language regarding the perceived threat of global warming. It would establish at least three new executive branch agencies, create exhaustive new records of “greenhouse gas” emissions, and spend billions in the development and exportation of new “climate friendly” technology. Taxpayers should not be forced to pay for such extravagance in light of the significant uncertainties that remain with respect to human-induced global warming. Despite claims of a “consensus” in the scientific community about the reality of human-induced global warming, a serious debate continues in the scientific community about fossil fuels and climate change.

    CSE also urges you to vote against any conference report that does not retain the best feature of the House energy bill, the provision to allow for the exploration and production of energy resources in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). ANWR could hold as much as 16 billion barrels of crude oil. By comparison, total proven reserves in the United States are 21.8 billion barrels. While the total size of ANWR is roughly the same as South Carolina, the amount of land that would be disturbed is about the same as Dulles airport. CSE opposes any energy bill that fails to allow for the environmentally sensitive exploration and production of energy resources in ANWR.

    The conference bill should also be free of any new ethanol mandates. Instead, Congress should act to allow flexibility with boutique fuels. The fuel price shocks Americans have experienced in recent years are due, to a large extent, to myriad fuel blends required by government mandates. Not only do these requirements restrict supplies of conventional fuels (i.e., what the vast majority of Americans consume), the evidence to date suggests that they may not contribute measurably to improving air quality. CSE opposes any report that extends ethanol subsidies or mandates and excises the House bill’s provision to allow states to opt out of federal reformulated fuel mandates during times of shortage and price increases.

    Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to working with you as we continue to find ways for working Americans to have reliable energy now and in the future.

    Sincerely,

    Paul Beckner
    CSE President and CEO