Daniel J. Weiss, Senior Fellow and Director of Climate Strategy at the Center for American Progress, testified before the House Committee on the Budget on Wednesday, June 26, 2013. Below is his oral statement.
Chairman Ryan, Ranking Member Van Hollen, and members of the committee, thank you very much for the opportunity to testify today.
The subject of today’s hearing is “America’s Energy Revolution: A New Path to Jobs and Economic Growth.” To most Americans, the “energy revolution” has three main components:
- Responsibly develop the energy resources of today while using them much more efficiently.
- Invest in the new, cleaner energy technologies of tomorrow, while ending tax breaks for Big Oil companies.
- Reduce the public health and extreme weather threats from toxic and carbon pollution generated by producing and burning coal, oil, and natural gas.
The Obama administration has successfully pursued an “all of the above” strategy that meets these goals.
Responsibly develop resources of today
- U.S. oil production is at its highest level since 1992.
- Direct oil and gas employment and gas station employment increased by 155,000 jobs, or by 11 percent, between 2009 and 2012.
- Oil production from federal lands and waters is higher every year under President Obama than under the last year of his predecessor.
- In 2012 the United States imported only 40 percent of its oil. The Energy Information Administration expects this to fall to 30 percent by 2014, which would be the lowest level since 1985.
- Coal mining jobs grew by 5,200, or 6 percent, between 2008 and 2012, according to the Labor Department.
Use these resources more efficiently
- When the modernization of fuel-economy standards is complete in 2025, the United States will use 2 million fewer barrels of oil per day, and drivers will save $8,000 per car over their lifetime in lower gasoline purchases.
- The United States weatherized 1 million low-income homes to make them more efficient, which will save each household more than $400 per year on utility bills.
Invest in clean energy technologies that create jobs
- Renewable electricity generation in the United States doubled between 2008 to 2012.
- The Labor Department recently determined that in 2011, 3.4 million jobs were associated with the production of green goods and services.
Eliminate tax breaks for Big Oil
- The president proposed to end $40 billion in tax breaks for Big Oil companies, particularly when the five biggest oil companies made $250 billion in profits in the last two years.
Protect public health from pollution and extreme weather
- The Mercury Air Toxic Standards will save up to 11,000 lives annually and prevent hundreds of thousands of asthma attacks and hospitalizations.
- President Obama’s new power plant proposal helps meet our obligation to the next generation by reducing carbon pollution from power plants—the United States’ largest uncontrolled domestic source. This is essential to reduce threats to public health and the destructive forces of extreme weather events.
President Obama has successfully pursued an “all of the above” energy strategy by increasing oil production, reducing imports and use, and protecting public health from pollution. Unfortunately, the House of Representatives has only supported one element of an “all of the above” strategy—the expansion of oil and gas production. The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water proposes to cut investments in clean energy in half, and reduce advanced research investments by 80 percent in its fiscal year 2014 spending bill. And the sequester has hindered oil production from public lands due to funding cuts at the Department of the Interior that have slowed lease approval.
The House of Representatives has ignored oil-use reductions, slashed investments for new clean energy technologies, and would eviscerate public health protection from hazardous pollutants. This is an “oil above all” strategy that would benefit Big Oil companies at the expense of everyone else.
Hopefully, the House of Representatives will join President Obama in supporting an “all of the above” energy strategy.