U.S. House Sends Mixed Messages on Energy Policy

<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />

Washington, D.C., May 10, 2006—The U.S. House of Representatives is sending mixed signals on energy policy today, with the Appropriations Committee approving amendments which would work at cross purposes, one likely lowering future energy prices and the other guaranteed to raise them.

<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” /> 

The first is a repeal of the longstanding prohibition on natural gas exploration along the Outer Continental Shelf. The United States possesses extremely large reserves of natural gas along the OCS which have been locked away from exploration and development even as domestic energy prices have continued to soar.


“This is great news for consumers, as it will increase energy security and probably pave the way to the lowering of natural gas prices,” said Competitive Enterprise Institute Senior Fellow Iain Murray.


The second amendment accepts much of the alarmist case for global warming and suggests that there should be mandatory caps on greenhouse gas emissions.  The saving grace is that the amendment says these should not “significantly harm the United States economy” (which they probably would) and would need to “encourage comparable action” by countries like China, which are highly unlikely to be encouraged towards such actions.


“Who does the Committee think it’s fooling when it assures us that Kyoto-like controls on fossil energy use would never be pushed to the point of harming the U.S. economy?” said CEI Senior Fellow Marlo Lewis, Jr. “They might as well try to persuade us that only the richest 2 percent of the population will ever have to pay income taxes.”