House Energy Bill Disappoints
"It's no secret that Americans want and need a green energy revolution that will spur energy conservation and expand clean renewable sources of power. Many of the people who will vote for today's package know this to be true.
"This bill does too little to bring about America's clean energy future. When the political season is over we will urge Congress to quickly adopt measures we know will help permanently end our dependence on fossil fuels, reduce global warming pollution, and create thousands of clean energy jobs to restore America's position as an energy leader.
"In the wake of a major federal energy scandal, no industry holds less public confidence, yet we stand on the verge of turning over our coasts and sensitive public lands over to their pro-drilling agenda."
The bill under consideration, H.R. 6899, includes an unacceptable increase in dirty, dangerous offshore drilling that will threaten America's beaches and coastlines. Offshore drilling causes large amounts of routine pollution in the form of produced water, drilling muds, and small oil spills, but also carries the risk of less frequent very large spills that would shut down multi-billion-dollar coastal tourism economies and cause significant damage to aquatic ecosystems.
While there are clean energy provisions in the bill, in Audubon's view they are simply insufficient to justify the profound new environmental risks that would be brought to America's beaches and coastal habitats. Those elements include a Renewable Electricity Standard, a tax extenders package that promotes renewable energy, and a transportation bill that gives Americans more environmentally-friendly transportation options.
Last week, the Department of Interior Inspector General issued a series of reports documenting a culture of unethical and illegal behavior at the agency that would be responsible for overseeing the increased drilling. The charges are the subject of a Congressional hearing this week.