HOYER: “ENERGY BILL FAILS TO ADDRESS AMERICA’S NEEDS”

For Immediate Release:

November 18, 2003

Contact:Stacey Farnen
202-225-3130

WASHINGTON D.C. – House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today regarding the Republican energy bill, which fails to help the American consumer, guts protections for the environment, weakens liabilities for corporate polluters, and does not promote smart energy independence.  Democrats were once again undemocratically shut out of the negotiations on this bill:

 “Mr. Speaker, the Republican Party has taken the first overhaul of national energy policy in a decade and turned it into grab bag of confusing and conflicting rules that solve few of the complicated and important energy issues confronting this nation.

 “Instead of taking a bipartisan approach to what has always been a cooperative issue, they have ensured that every interest has just enough to have to support it, regardless of whether it makes any sense for the country.

 “There are a few positive things in this bill.  But unfortunately, there is much that is wrong.   And a process aimed at eliminating virtually any democratic input has made it worse.

 “This anti-consumer conference report impedes progress toward preventing additional blackouts.  Instead of focusing efforts toward investments and coordination, it will set off a wave of court cases, and mergers, with little protection for ratepayers.

 “Furthermore, this conference report continues the Republican Party's unmitigated assault on our environment and shifts cleanup costs for MTBE contaminated sites from the industry to taxpayers.

 “Mr. Speaker, our nation's energy policy should be a bipartisan affair deliberated in the open.  Instead, the Republican conferees ripped a page out of Dick Cheney's playbook and drafted it in secret with no input from the dean of the House (Mr. Dingell) or other democratic conferees until it was a fait accompli.

 “I urge my colleagues: reject this short-sighted, subsidy-laden conference report.”

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