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“Roadmap for America’s Energy Future” Offers Promising Direction
An Open Letter to the U.S. House of Representatives
August 9, 2010
By Andrew Moylan
On behalf of the 362,000 members of the National Taxpayers Union (NTU), I urge you to cosponsor and work to pass H.R. 5899, the "Roadmap for America's Energy Future" introduced by Representative Devin Nunes (R-CA). This legislation would expand access to America's vast energy resources while introducing a novel approach to developing alternative energy technologies for the future. Legislators of all ideological persuasions should be able to enthusiastically support this common-sense bill.
NTU has long supported unlocking America's tremendous energy potential as a way to reduce costs, increase economic growth, and create millions of jobs. H.R. 5899 would help to remove many legislative and regulatory shackles by clearing away barriers to responsible development in the Outer Continental Shelf, Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge, and oil shale deposits. The legislation also supports expediting the expansion of nuclear power, as well as creates a bipartisan commission to examine the causes of the Gulf oil spill and make policy recommendations to Congress.
The major innovation of the "Roadmap," however, is its creation of a reverse auction mechanism for funding alternative energy projects. Revenues derived from traditional energy exploration would be placed in a trust fund devoted to alternatives and subjected to a competitive bidding process. Participants would be judged on the price per megawatt of electricity they promise. Further discipline would be imposed by requiring successful bidders to submit a "security deposit" of sorts to protect taxpayers. The current system of alternative energy subsidies is a complicated web of political power and lobbying influence that yields pathetic results for taxpayers. This reverse auction would introduce some elementary market forces to the subsidization process, making it more efficient and accountable.
NTU is on the record as unwaveringly opposing taxpayer subsidies for any energy source and continues to believe that the ideal solution would be for the benefits of energy exploration to accrue to taxpayers through reduced tax burdens. We will aggressively support legislation toward that end. However, if public officials are to persist with what seems to be a near-consensus in favor of alternative energy subsidies, we must demand that they at least operate in a less politicized system, one which minimizes the destructive role of special interests.
NTU urges you to cosponsor and support H.R. 5899, the "Roadmap for America's Energy Future." Any roll call votes on this legislation will be significantly weighted in our annual Rating of Congress.