Administration supports House passage of H.R. 4 and commends the House
for its action in developing comprehensive and balanced national energy
legislation that is largely consistent with the Administration's National
Energy Plan. H.R. 4 creates opportunities and provides incentives
to foster conservation, improve energy efficiency, increase domestic
energy production, and expand the use of renewable energy sources.
H.R. 4 represents an important step in ensuring the Nation's future
Administration commends the inclusion of incentives from the President's
budget and National Energy Policy to encourage conservation, energy
efficiency, and the use of renewable and alternative energy sources.
In addition, H.R. 4 will provide for the exploration and development
of a small portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR)
using newly-available, environmentally-friendly technology. The
Administration's Plan recommended the exploration and development
of this significant oil and gas resource in a manner that is protective
of the environment including migratory wildlife, and the Administration
is pleased that H.R. 4 incorporates this important recommendation.
The Administration urges the defeat of any amendment that would
eliminate this section of the bill. Finally, H.R. 4 will expand
successful, existing energy efficiency programs like the Energy
STAR Program and energy conservation in Federal buildings.
the Administration strongly supports the bill, we look forward to
working with Congress to improve upon provisions in the bill that
are consistent with the National Energy Plan in order to ensure
that the bill balances the Nation's energy needs with environmental
Administration recognizes that sections 122 and 123 are intended
to facilitate financing for improvements in the energy efficiency
of Federal buildings. The Administration is concerned, however,
that these provisions are inconsistent with our Federal fiscal and
procurement policies and would absorb significant discretionary
funds. We hope to work with Congress to make these provisions consistent
with sound fiscal and procurement practices.
National Energy Plan recommends targeting royalty reductions to
encourage environmentally-sound offshore oil and gas development,
to reduce economic risks associated with production in frontier
areas or deep gas formations, and for development of small fields
that would otherwise be uneconomic. The Administration appreciates
the substantial progress that has been made in regard to these provisions
and looks forward to working with Congress to better target the
royalty relief provided in the bill.
Administration supports increasing automobile fuel economy. As the
National Academy of Sciences report released this week demonstrates,
we can achieve significant fleet fuel economy increases, without
costing lives, by incorporating existing and new technologies over
time. The NAS report also demonstrates, however, that simply adopting
arbitrary CAFE increases could cause additional traffic fatalities.
The Administration concurs that efforts to arbitrarily set new CAFE
standards could impact safety and endanger lives. The Administration
is eager to review existing CAFE standards through the independent
administrative review process established by law, that will take
into account the NAS report, passenger safety, environmental and
economic concerns, and disparate impact on the U.S. versus foreign
fleet of automobiles. The Administration therefore again calls on
Congress to remove immediately the prohibition on the Department
of Transportation so that it can responsibly craft an appropriate
standard. The NAS report also highlights the need to reform the
CAFE program to ensure that cost-effective technology, not less
safe designs, drive future increases in fuel economy. The Administration
looks forward to working with Congress to achieve significant improvements
to fleet fuel economy by encouraging development and introduction
of new technologies and reforming the CAFE program.
Administration is concerned about the significant PAYGO cost of
this bill which, in several cases, significantly exceeds the President's
Budget and sets unrealistic targets for future programmatic funding
support the action to not include a provision in H.R. 4 that would
move the Nuclear Waste Trust Fund off-budget. The Administration
would strongly oppose such a provision, which could remove these
funds from Congressional and Executive control, and would significantly
reduce the budget surplus.
law that would reduce receipts is subject to the pay-as-you-go requirements
of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act. Accordingly,
H.R. 4 or any substitute amendment in lieu thereof, that would also
reduce revenues or increase direct spending, will be subject to
the pay-as-you-go requirement. OMB has not completed its scoring
of H.R. 4, but a preliminary review indicates H.R. 4 would reduce
the surplus by at least $30 billion over FYs 2002-2011. The Administration
will work with Congress to ensure that any unintended sequester
of spending does not occur under current law or the enactment of
any other proposals that meet the President's objectives to reduce
the debt, fund priority initiatives, and grant tax relief to all
income tax paying Americans.