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NTU Writes in Support of the “Energy Production and Project Delivery Act of 2013"

February 27, 2013

The Honorable David Vitter
United States Senate
516 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Rob Bishop
United States House of Representatives
123 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Senator Vitter and Congressman Bishop:

On behalf of the 362,000-member National Taxpayers Union (NTU), I write in support of the “Energy Production and Project Delivery Act of 2013,” which you are introducing today in your respective chambers. Your legislation would restore a sensible balance to America’s domestic energy resources policy, in the process expanding the economy, providing additional job opportunities, and trimming future budget deficits.

NTU has long advocated for unshackling America’s tremendous energy potential from the bonds of government overregulation and red tape. Your bill would help to unleash this capacity by opening up the Outer Continental Shelf and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to responsible development. To better enable the utilization of these resources, the Act takes the important step of cutting through the labyrinth of overlapping, redundant, and wasteful regulatory procedures that businesses must navigate before beginning a project. In addition, we are pleased to see a provision that will help to expedite construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, a vital component in our energy delivery infrastructure.

Furthermore, your legislation would prevent abusive interpretations of the Clean Air Act (CAA) and Endangered Species Act, which are being used by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a back-door method of imposing a “cap-and-trade” national energy tax system. Our members know all too well EPA’s tendency toward over-hyping the advantages of regulatory excess. In 2011, an NTU-commissioned study by NERA Economic Consulting found that EPA’s claim of $2 trillion in annual economic benefits from Clean Air Act regulations was “greatly exaggerated” and based on a concept called “willingness to pay.” Indeed, a separate EPA study employing actual macroeconomic analysis estimated that the impact of the regulations could “range from a loss of $110 billion to a gain of $5 billion” by 2020. Clearly then, the bill’s requirement that EPA conduct honest employment-effect assessments of CAA regulatory actions is also important.

For years, the federal government has kept vast amounts of energy under the lock and key of an exploration moratorium or its more modern cousin, the “permitorium,” whereby development is stymied through bureaucratic obstinacy rather than statutory barriers. These policies have conspired to discourage prudent energy exploration and, a few years ago, led to the idling of thousands of workers in one of the country’s most economically fragile regions. Consumers, investors, and businesses deserve more certainty going forward. Unlocking American resources could create thousands of jobs, generate tens of billions in new revenues for the federal and state governments without boosting tax rates, and slow the growth of energy costs. At a time when taxpayers continue to struggle with an uneven economic recovery, affordable energy must be a priority.

The Energy Production and Project Delivery Act represents an important building block for a prosperous future, one that could, under the right policies, make America a net exporter of energy by the end of the decade. Most importantly, it proposes to build that future without extracting more money from overburdened taxpayers or relying upon subsidy-heavy, government-centric programs. NTU encourages your colleagues to cosponsor the Energy Production and Project Delivery Act; any roll call votes on this legislation will be significantly weighted in our annual Rating of Congress.

Pete Sepp
Executive Vice President