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Press Release

Citizen Group Urges Politicians to “Learn the Right Lessons” from Oil Leak, Avoid Burdening Taxpayers with New Energy Schemes

For Immediate Release June 16, 2010
Pete Sepp, (703) 683-5700

     (Alexandria, VA) — Shortly after President Barack Obama addressed the nation last night on the BP oil leak in the Gulf and U.S. energy policy, Pete Sepp, Executive Vice President of the 362,000-member National Taxpayers Union (NTU), offered the following statement:

     Despite some inspirational words, President Obama's speech last night raised some troubling issues – thinly-veiled references to energy policies that involve bigger government and heavier burdens for taxpayers. Neither of the two major political parties in Washington seems to be above trying to score some political points with the disaster in the Gulf. Some Republicans have strangely begun implying that a 'do-nothing' President and his agencies should be more aggressive in their involvement with the oil leak, when they ought to know this is a two-edged sword for taxpayers. Bureaucracies are rarely able to come up with innovative solutions to crises, and when told to move fast, often end up just spending more tax dollars with even less to show for them.

     Democrats unfairly insinuated that more BP-style accidents could be on the way if lawmakers voted for Senator Lisa Murkowski's amendment last week to block the EPA from imposing a cap-and-trade-style national energy tax regime. President Obama has hopped on the bandwagon with some not-so-subtle notes of his own last night, by praising the House for 'passing a strong and comprehensive energy and climate bill' that reflected his 'set of principles that would move our country towards energy independence.' What the House actually did was pass a punitive cap-and-trade bill, and the 'principles' to which the President refers include more taxpayer subsidies for politically-favored energy interests and higher costs for consumers.

     If the President was serious when he said last night that he's 'happy to look at other ideas and approaches,' then he should stop eyeing a cap-and-trade national energy tax and start focusing on environmentally sustainable solutions that are economically sustainable too. This includes everything from lower taxes on business innovation, to more efficient air traffic control, to managing truck traffic better by letting them carry loads in line with weights allowed in other countries. At the same time, leaders should learn the right lessons from this disaster: avoid an asbestos-industry-style litigation debacle, implement careful oversight of any federal aid operations to stop improper payments before they happen, give non-governmental entities an even bigger role in finding solutions, and, above all, protect taxpayers from a multi-billion-dollar bailout.

NTU is a nonpartisan, nonprofit citizen organization founded in 1969 to work for lower taxes, smaller government, and economic freedom at all levels. Note: additional analyses and commentaries on energy and climate policy are available at or text the word "FIGHT" to 67292.