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The House of Representatives has passed what I believe is an unwise energy bill. If it becomes law, it would lead to a huge increase in the price of gasoline, and it would increase our dependence on foreign fossil fuels, even as America works to develop sustainable alternative energy sources. I voted “No” on this bill, but it passed 220-to-188.
I supported the Motion to Recommit that deleted all the tax increases on energy companies and deleted the sunset provision on blocking the marriage tax penalty. I have always worked to end the marriage tax penalty. I believe that married couples should not pay higher taxes than two single people living together. My belief is that the tax increases included in the bill would increase at the pump the price of gasoline, diesel, kerosene and similar products. I voted for this improved version of the energy bill, but it failed 197-to-222.
The legislation had some good points, particularly the tax credits that are available to those who develop and use such alternative energy sources as solar and wind power. Also, the biodiesel credit and the renewable diesel credit is extended for two years to the end of 2010. However, the bill’s bad features outweighed the benefits that these provisions offered.
For instance, the bill would impose higher taxes on domestic energy producers, which would be passed along by increasing the price at the pump. In all, there would be $17.71 billion in tax increases on certain producers over ten years. At the same time, the bill creates a loophole, so that CITGO will not be subject to these increased taxes. CITGO is the petroleum company that is wholly-owned by Venezuela, ruled by the dictator Hugo Chavez. This is the same Hugo Chavez who has threatened to cut off energy supplies to the United States. Also, the bill removes incentives for U. S. oil companies to invest and grow their businesses here at home, yielding the potential for American jobs to be shipped overseas.
Even as the House majority was promoting this legislation, it continued to block every effort to allow increased exploration for and production of oil and natural gas in our country. It has been about a quarter of a century since the last refinery was built in the U. S. Oil supplies in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge remain untapped, and drilling for natural gas off the coast of the United States is still banned. I am committed and I think that much of America is committed to developing alternative fuels so that we are free from relying on foreign fossil fuels for our energy needs. Right now, there are some potentially promising alternative fuels being developed, such as the work with canola oil and switchgrass in the Fifth District. But, none of these is economically viable as replacements yet. Even as these alternatives are being developed, America still must have the energy to power its economy, and it makes greater economic sense to use American-produced energy and keep the money churning in our economy than to buy petroleum products produced abroad and send the money to Venezuela or the Middle East.
What America needs is a balanced energy plan, one that boosts supplies of American-made energy in all its forms. We are in the 21st Century, called by some the Age of Technology, and with these technologies and the strictest standards in the world, we can and must produce more of our own energy at home and be good stewards of the environment at the same time.
Please keep in touch with me on issues that are important to you. You may write Congressman Virgil Goode, 70 East Court Street, Room 215, Rocky Mount, VA 24151; or fax to 1-540-484-1459; or call toll-free to the Danville office, 1-800-535-4008.