ACTION ALERT: Letters Needed on Energy Policy Act
June 3, 2003
Friends Committee on National Legislation
The Senate is debating the Energy Policy Act of 2003 (S14). The bill, as it now stands, would expand domestic oil and gas production, open public lands and the continental shelf to oil and gas production and pipelines, and expand subsidies for coal and nuclear energy development.
When the Senate returns June 2, they will continue floor debate on the Energy Policy Act of 2003 (S14). This legislation would shape national energy policy for years to come, with significant consequences for the environment and global climate change. The bill, as it now stands, would primarily expand domestic oil and gas production, open more public lands and the continental shelf to oil and gas production and pipelines, and expand subsidies for coal and nuclear energy development. Yet, it would do relatively little to reduce US oil consumption or to promote improved energy efficiency or renewable energy sources.
Senators are now planning to offer dozens of amendments, and the debate is expected to continue off and on over the next several weeks. The House has already passed its version of the Energy Policy Act of 2003 (HR 6).
We are asking that for this month's letter writing project you would please contact your senators and urge them to speak out against provisions to expand domestic oil and gas production, and to support measures to reduce US oil consumption, promote improved energy efficiency.
You will find a background sheet included in this mailing. Additionally, you may link to the FCNL Legislative Action Center for a sample letter which you can send directly from the website at http://capwiz.com/fconl/issues/alert/?alertid=1891141&type=CO. If you have any questions, please contact Valerie Fox at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-800-630-1330, ext. 142.
Thank you so much for organizing letter writing in your meeting!
Field Program Secretary
SAMPLE LETTER TO SENATOR
I am concerned that the Energy Policy Act of 2003 (S. 14) will do far too little to reduce US oil consumption or to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy. I believe this bill will simply feed our country's wasteful appetite for oil.
The over-consumption of oil and other fossil fuels is damaging to public health and the environment. Additionally, nuclear energy poses another set of serious problems concerning public health and safety, long-term waste disposal, and national security. Yet the pending energy bill would do little to address these problems.
Please consider using tax incentives or subsidies to promote the purchase of fuel-efficient vehicles, energy-saving appliances and technologies, and renewable energy production.
US oil consumption is increasing. It is expected to grow at an average rate of 1.7 percent annually for the foreseeable future. While the US population is less than five percent of the global population, it already consumes more than 25 percent of global oil production. Today, the US imports over half of its oil, and by 2025, the US is expected to import two thirds -- if current supply and demand trends continue. Gasoline consumption in the US (primarily by cars and light trucks) accounts for 43 percent of US oil consumption and eleven percent of global oil production. Growth in fuel consumption in the transportation sector will be the primary factor driving overall growth in US oil consumption in the years ahead.
The Energy Policy Act of 2003 (S14) falls far short of what is needed to help create a cleaner, more energy efficient, and renewable energy supply for the US in the decades ahead. By placing such a great emphasis on expanding domestic production of fossil fuels and nuclear energy and relatively little emphasis on conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable sources of energy, this bill seems more like a blueprint for the past rather than the future.
Of central concern is our country's wasteful dependence on oil. The world has already witnessed too many wars in which conflict over the control of oil has been one of the root causes. More such conflicts loom on the horizon unless the US and other countries take significant steps to wean their economies from dependence on oil. Further, our country's oil dependence poses a continuing threat to public health; it is contributing to global climate change; and oil exploration, extraction, and transport continue to put public lands, waterways, seashores, and sensitive ecosystems at risk.
Rather than promoting more expensive, harmful, domestic oil production, Congress should enact a sensible national energy policy that promotes energy efficiency, renewable fuels, new technologies, and expanded public transportation. There is no reason why the US cannot reduce its oil consumption by millions of barrels of oil per day over the next decade.
The technology exists to produce safe, affordable cars and light trucks that are more than twice as efficient as current models on average. The technology exists to build energy-efficient public transportation systems, homes, buildings, and appliances that will consume a fraction of current energy consumption. Safer, cleaner, economical, renewable energy technologies and fuels have been developed and are being used around the world.
What has been lacking so far has been the political will to end subsidies to the politically powerful oil, gas, coal, nuclear, electric utility, and automobile industries. Congress must shift away from current policies and spending priorities toward creating a cleaner, safer, more environmentally sustainable energy future. The Senate can start now by changing this flawed bill.
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