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What’s needed in an energy bill?

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

America needs an energy bill that will improve the lives of our people and strengthen our economic and national security. The legislation can only be effective if it is based on sound economics and science, rather than soundbites, slogans and political posturing.

Economically and scientifically sound legislation must acknowledge that there is no single answer to America’s energy needs, not petroleum, not coal, not nuclear power, not natural gas, not ethanol, and not solar, or wind energy. We need a realistic combination of all these energy sources and more.

Economically and scientifically sound legislation must also recognise that every form of energy, not just petroleum, has its downsides, as well as its positive aspects. And the legislation must accept the reality that petroleum based fuels and other products will play a crucial part in providing the world with energy and with critically important petrochemicals for many decades to come.

Energy legislation should enable the production of safe, reliable and efficient energy at the lowest possible cost right here at home. It should strengthen our economy by reducing our trade deficit and by preserving and creating good American jobs. And it should enhance our national security by making us less dependent on energy from unstable areas of the world.

Energy legislation must also recognise that at this time of soaring federal deficits, taxpayers cannot continue digging deeper into their wallets to fund endless subsidies to forms of energy unable to compete on a level playing field in a free market economy.

All these things are popular with the American people and should be able to win enough support in Congress to become law.

What’s proven unpopular and what has deadlocked legislative action are ill conceived and counter productive proposals focusing on emissions of carbon dioxide. The carbon restrictions in the Kerry-Lieberman bill in the Senate and in legislation passed earlier by the House amount to crippling self imposed economic sanctions on every American.

A federal carbon cap and trade law would punish hard working Americans by adding billions of dollars each year to the cost of filling up the family car and heating and cooling the family home. It would throw millions of Americans out of work by raising the cost of the energy that fuels our nation’s economic strength and job creation engine.

Instead of making a headlong charge into harmful, expensive and ineffective new carbon restrictions, legislation should enable America’s energy companies to produce more energy of all types as cleanly, efficiently, safely and affordably as possible in the US. Americans deserve no less.

Charles T. Drevna, President National Petrochemical & Refiners Association

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