September 29, 1997
The Administration supports the one-year extension of the Strategic Petroleum
Reserve and the International Energy Agency (IEA) programs contained in H.R.
2472. The Administration, however, is concerned that H.R. 2472 is deficient in
two important respects.
First, the bill does not provide the necessary expansion of certain critical anti-trust protections for U.S. oil companies. Without these protections, U.S. oil companies would be unable to assist the IEA in planning and carrying out a coordinated drawdown of government petroleum stock. As a result, key crisis planning activities will have to be curtailed and the IEA energy emergency response capability would be impaired, thus jeopardizing U.S. energy security.
Second, the bill fails to reauthorize other programs included in the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA). These programs provide energy conservation assistance for States, schools, and hospitals, and help to commercialize alternative fuels trucks. These programs help improve energy efficiency and their absence would impair U.S. energy security.
Because of these deficiencies, the Administration strongly urges the House to defer action on H.R. 2472 and to instead, enact S. 417, as passed by the Senate. S. 417 contains the needed anti-trust exemptions and reauthorizes the full range of EPCA programs. If the House enacts H.R. 2472, the Administration will work in conference to ensure that the bill presented to the President contains the necessary authorities to guarantee the Nation's energy security.