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Press Release

A Pound of Cheer, Ton of Jeers for Democrats' Lightweight Energy Plan, Taxpayer Group Says

For Immediate Release September 11, 2008
Pete Sepp, (703) 683-5700

(Alexandria, VA) -- After months of mounting pressure from citizens in favor of increased domestic energy production, Democratic Leadership in the House has finally drafted a bill to allow for more oil and gas exploration. According to the 362,000-member National Taxpayers Union (NTU), however, the plan contains major flaws that may render it powerless in the fight against high fuel prices.

"The Democrats should be praised for paying heed to the basic position held by a substantial majority of Americans: that we should unlock our offshore areas to responsible development to help alleviate high prices over time," said NTU Government Affairs Manager Andrew Moylan. "But even though the legislation appears attractive from a distance, a closer look reveals that it's not a pretty picture for taxpayers."

Preliminary details suggest that the House Democrats' proposal opens up all coastal states to drilling, but only beyond a restrictive 50-mile offshore buffer that would keep upwards of 90 percent of recoverable resources off-limits in some areas.

Perhaps most important for exploration purposes, the proposal does not include any revenue sharing for states that choose to allow offshore development, Moylan noted. This would provide no major "opt-in" incentive for states, which are accustomed to onshore drilling and extraction agreements where revenue is split 50/50 with the federal government.

Disappointingly, the plan also includes many all-too-familiar energy policies that have failed America for the last three decades: taxes, subsidies, and mandates. It hikes taxes by billions of dollars, continues to lavish taxpayer funds on so-called "alternative" energy, and contains a renewable electricity generation requirement that will dramatically raise utility costs. Meanwhile, it employs gimmicks like releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and "use it or lose it" language for existing leases.

"This isn't change, it's more of the same," Moylan concluded. "Though it's encouraging to see the Democrats moving closer to a rational policy on drilling, they unfortunately burdened it with dozens of provisions that will make energy more expensive in the future. Behind the friendly-looking face of this plan is the ugly scowl of tax-and-spend."

NTU is a nonpartisan, nonprofit citizen organization founded in 1969 to work for lower taxes, smaller government, and economic freedom at all levels. Note: For more information on NTU's energy policy, visit or