Portland Press Herald editorial
One of the Democrats’s top agenda items, now that Congress is back in session, is to create a fund to promote renewable energy and conservation by diverting money that was going to oil companies.
That’s just one of many welcome changes in national energy policy that the new majority has pledged to pursue.
Subsidies are government’s way of encouraging research of production of goods and services that are in the public interest.
Many of the current subsidies, investment credits and tax breaks were developed when the price of oil was half of what it is today.
There’s no doubt our economy is still dependent on oil and natural gas. But despite what the oil company CEOs may say about the cost of exploration and development, their bulging bottom lines demonstrate they don’t need a helping hand.
The new majority is also calling for an investigation of a scandalous mistake within the Interior
Department that has allowed companies who signed lease contracts in 1998-1999 for exploration in the Gulf of Mexico to avoid paying billions in royalties to the government.
It’s heartening that a number of Republicans also support this effort.
While the leadership in last Congress was lavishing more breaks on Big Oil, it was much less giving when it came to the competition. Congress should focus on research into cellulosic ethanol, which promises higher energy returns than corn-based ethanol.
We can’t drill our way to energy security. While oil will play a major role in our economy for decades, the time it takes to bring alternative fuels to market means we have to start now.
The oil companies have received more than their fair share of federal subsidies.
It’s time we put those taxpayer funds to a more productive use.