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Spratt Backs Energy Bill to Expand Drilling

September 17, 2008

Chairman, Committee on the Budget
Senior Member, Committee on Armed Services
US House of Representatives, Washington, DC

Wednesday, September 17, 2008 – For Immediate Release
Contact: Chuck Fant, 202-226-2651

Spratt Backs Energy Bill to Expand Drilling

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. John Spratt (D-SC) Tuesday voted in favor of a comprehensive energy bill designed to bring down costs, raise the commitment to alternative energy research, and expand domestic drilling offshore and on land, all in a quest to loosen the grip of foreign oil. The Comprehensive American Energy Security & Consumer Protection Act passed the House by a vote of 236-189.

The bill takes the place of the moratorium on off-shore drilling, which expires September 30, 2008.

“This is a good energy bill, and a good environmental bill, one of best we have passed two decades,” said Spratt. “This legislation will produce more energy at home and invest in alternative technologies to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Its aim in the near term is to bring prices down and fire up an energy strategy for our future.”

The Comprehensive American Energy Security & Consumer Protection Act will roll back tax breaks for oil companies at a time of record profits and require payment of royalties currently owed.

The bill permits offshore drilling in waters between 50 and 100 miles offshore, provided that the state allows leasing off its coastline by enactment of a state law. Beyond 100 miles, drilling would be at the discretion of the Department of the Interior.

The bill also funds wind, solar, and natural gas. It extends and expands tax credits supporting investment in a variety of alternative technologies. It also helps update existing infrastructure to more efficient and new, cleaner technologies.

The bill takes one major step to reduce immediately the price of gasoline by temporarily releasing nearly 10 percent of the oil stored in the government’s stockpile – the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) – replacing it later with heavier, cheaper crude oil.

Last year, Congress passed and the President signed historic legislation to combat oil market manipulation, increase vehicle fuel efficiency to 35 miles per gallon in 2020 – the first Congressional increase in more than three decades – and promote the use of more affordable American biofuels. “This was a step forward,” said Spratt. “By comparison, this bill is a major advance, several steps forward.”

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