"I'm pleased that the new Congress is joining us in taking our nation's energy security seriously. And I look forward to working with the Congress as it works on this and other energy legislation over the next two years.
"Since his first days in office, President Bush has worked to expand the use of cleaner, affordable, and more reliable domestic energy sources and, to date, his Administration has invested nearly $12 billion to develop new energy technologies.
"Energy is a bipartisan issue and together we can work to reduce our reliance on foreign sources of energy while expanding our nation's economy. We can accomplish this by increasing our investments in new energy technology and also in the further development of our nation's natural energy resources.
"We support the bill's effort to repeal some of the unnecessary oil and gas incentives from the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct). In addition, we would ask that Members consider repealing other unneeded incentives contained in EPAct, such as federal funding for oil and gas research and development.
"While there are areas of agreement in this legislation, there are also areas of disagreement. Among them is a provision requiring companies that signed favorable oil development leases with the Department of the Interior in 1998 and 1999 to renegotiate those leases. While I agree that the leases are out of line with prior and current policy, the bigger issue is protecting the sanctity of contracts.
"I often talk with leaders around the world about the valuable expertise and capital that U.S. businesses can bring to their energy sectors. As part of that discussion, I also impress upon them the importance of two things: transparency and respecting contracts. Contracts are a fundamental principle of the rule of law and a functioning economy. To renege on the government's agreements is unfair and sets a bad example for nations around world. I would ask Congress to closely review this provision as the bill moves forward.
"In addition, we can continue our work to invest more in clean energy technology today. So I am again asking that Congress fully and immediately support the President's $2.1 billion Advanced Energy Initiative. This 22 percent increase in funding for projects in vehicle technology, solar and wind research, nuclear energy, and clean coal projects would kick start the development and eventual deployment of these new clean energy technologies and allow us to more quickly wean our dependence from foreign sources of energy. Also, I encourage the Congress to fund the President's American Competitiveness Initiative. This multi-billion investment is important to advance basic science research, which can lead to revolutionary discovery and ultimately greater energy independence."
Craig Stevens, (202) 586-4940