(Alexandria, VA) -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-CA) "new direction" in energy policy actually takes a familiar turn: more money out of taxpayers' pockets and stymied energy development, according to the 362,000-member National Taxpayers Union (NTU). The legislation, unveiled yesterday, would unwisely penalize oil companies, impose harsh mandates on the auto industry, and heavily regulate private utilities -- all of which ultimately will hinder new developments in energy technology and hurt consumers.
"Speaker Pelosi's new energy bill does nothing to improve upon the previous House- and Senate-passed disasters," NTU Government Affairs Manager Andrew Moylan said. "Instead, it relies on 30 years of tried-and-failed tactics including higher taxes, piles of taxpayer subsidies, and more regulation."
Portrayed as a step toward stronger energy security and a cleaner environment, Pelosi's bill defies a veto threat from President Bush, opposition from many lawmakers, and expert advice from 234 economists, who sent an NTU-commissioned letter to Congress in October warning against the most damaging provisions of the House and Senate energy bills. Rather than spur domestic energy production, proposals for higher taxes on oil companies, strict fuel efficiency requirements for automobiles, and "renewable energy" mandates on private utilities will drive up prices for consumers.
Pelosi justifies her legislative approach by citing the need for so-called alternative energy sources such as ethanol, but according to Moylan, allowing Members of Congress to pick market winners and losers in development of new energy technology puts the future of American energy in the hands of politicians rather than the public.
"The package has a destructive tax hike of $21 billion, which will only serve to increase the very oil imports the bill purports to reduce," Moylan concluded. "Meanwhile, it ramps up mandates for fuels like ethanol despite the pernicious effects on consumers and taxpayers. The inclusion of other feel-good provisions like higher fuel efficiency standards and mandates for renewable electricity simply prove that this bill is more about political grandstanding than it is about creating good policy."
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 further energy policy information, visit www.ntu.org.