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Press Release

Letter to Congress Regarding the "Energy Policy Act of 2002"


Dear Member of Congress:

S. 517, the “Energy Policy Act of 2002,” will be coming to the Senate floor this week. On behalf of the nearly 300,000 members of Citizens for a Sound Economy’s (CSE) grassroots army, I urge you to oppose this legislation in its present form. This legislation 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.

There are several components of the bill that are particularly harmful, and a key piece of sound energy policy that is conspicuously absent. First off, the proposed increase in Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards should be eliminated from the bill. Given the advances made in recent years in auto-engine fuel efficiency and air quality, CSE believes the amendment to raise CAFE standards is unnecessary. Further, dramatic sacrifices in passenger safety would have to be made to meet the proposed standards. In the past, the most direct method of complying with the federal standards has been a reduction in vehicle size and weight. As a result, CAFE standards are blamed for more than 46,000 traffic fatalities since their enactment in 1975. CSE will, therefore, oppose any amendment to increase the CAFE standards.

Second, the 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 until there is irrefutable evidence that human-induced global warming is happening, and that it is a product of emissions from carbon dioxide (CO2) and other so-called “greenhouse gases.” Thus far, no such evidence has been demonstrated.

Despite claims of a “consensus” in the scientific community about the reality of human-induced global warming, there exists no empirical evidence linking the use of fossil fuels with any alleged climate change. The regulation of CO2 emissions would only serve to further undermine our energy security without providing any environmental benefits.

Equal in importance to the bill’s negative provisions is that it ignores 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). America is facing an energy crisis due in large measure to regulations that artificially restrict the supply of domestic energy resources. Our energy infrastructure is stretched to the limit, and S. 1766 would do little to address the problem.

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) could hold as much as 16 billion barrels of crude oil. By comparison, total proven reserves in the U.S. 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 will oppose any attempts to remove the provision allowing the environmentally sensitive exploration and production of energy resources in ANWR.

S. 517 also contains new requirements for the use of ethanol. Instead, Congress should act to allow flexibility with boutique fuels. The cause of the fuel price shocks Americans have experienced in recent years is due, to a large extent, to the 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), there is no solid evidence to date that they contribute measurably to improving air quality. CSE will oppose any attempts to remove the provision allowing 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.


Paul Beckner