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Why the Current Energy Bill is Bad for Americans

September 18, 2008
Myrick Votes Against House "Energy" Bill
Sue Myrick Rep N.C.

Last night, the House of Representatives voted on an energy bill.  This bill - among other things - did permit a limited amount of off-shore drilling.  I have long supported efforts to increase American oil and gas production; I even introduced a bill earlier this year to allow states to opt into drilling within 100 miles of their coasts. 

But I voted against last night's bill for a number of reasons:

  • The bill includes a buffer that would prohibit any new drilling within fifty miles of America's coastline. These are the most promising areas for oil and gas production, and this bill would lock up an estimated 90% of America's offshore reserves.
  • The bill I introduced - the Deep Ocean Energy Resources Act - would allow states to opt into offshore drilling within 100 miles of their coast and, more importantly, give them a share of the revenue if they chose to participate. The financial benefit would be strong incentive for states to permit offshore drilling and provide them fair compensation for doing so.
  • The bill voted on by the House would require states opt into allowing drilling from fifty to one hundred miles off their coast - without giving them a share of the revenue. Without a financial benefit, it is unlikely most coastal states would permit offshore oil and gas development.
  • The bill also included what's known as a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). This requires utility companies to generate 15% of their electricity from renewable resources, but only certain types could be used to meet this mandate. States in the Southeast would be disproportionately harmed because they lack the ability to generate solar and wind power in an economical manner. The additional cost would be passed onto North Carolina residents, resulting in higher utility bills.
  • Nuclear energy was NOT included as a way to meet this mandate. While we must use all sources of alternative energy and all methods of conservation, nuclear remains one of our best options for electricity production. It's clean, technology has made it increasingly safer, and countries around the world are already using our technology to produce nuclear energy.

You've seen rising gas costs.  You've experienced the difficulty in finding gas over the past few days as a result of Hurricane Ike.  The House of Representatives had the chance last night to enact meaningful solutions to our energy problems.  Unfortunately, the bill we voted on yesterday was more about politics than about what was best for YOU.  I was elected to do what is best for my constituents and my country.  I could not, in good conscience, support a bill that would guarantee an increase in your utility costs and do nothing to help solve America's energy crisis.

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