Jun 28 2005

SHELBY COMMENDS PASSAGE OF ENERGY BILL

WASHINGTON, D. C. --- U.S. Senator Richard C. Shelby (R-AL) today commended Senate passage of H.R. 6, the Energy Policy Act of 2005. By a vote of 85 - 12, the Senate overwhelmingly approved the Energy Bill, which will now head to a conference committee with the House of Representatives for consideration. Senator Shelby made the following statement regarding passage of the bill:

“I am pleased that the Senate has been able to come to agreement and pass an Energy Bill. This legislation encourages increased domestic production so that consumers will experience more stable gas prices, and the country will lessen its dependency on foreign oil. The bill also creates incentives for alternative energy production and conservation efforts, including improved fuel efficiency. I am encouraged by the bill’s strong focus on energy reliability. Without a long-term strategy to ensure steady, reliable supplies of energy, we put our economy and the way of life it supports at risk.”

“I am very encouraged that the bill permanently halts the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) Standard Market Design (SMD) proposed rulemaking. SMD calls for a one-size-fits-all electricity template for the entire country, eliminating a state’s ability to make decisions on electricity issues. In particular, it would allow the relatively inexpensive power Alabamians currently receive to be shipped to other areas of the country, forcing us in the Southeast to pick up the tab. Additionally, the SMD proposal would force rate payers in Alabama to cover the costs of upgrading transmission in Alabama in order for excess power to be shipped out of the region. Therefore, we would pay for power upgrades that serve high cost areas, such as New York City, while providing no benefit to consumers in Alabama. I believe all Alabamians can declare victory with this provision.”

“I was also pleased that I was able to work with Chairman Domenici and Ranking Member Bingaman to include report language, which clarifies the involvement that States and localities should have in the siting, construction, and operation of LNG facilities. There is no question that state and local governments have a keen understanding of the needs of their communities, and this language provides clarity as to what their role should be in this process. While this is an important step, I am hopeful that during the conference process we can include even more substantive language as a part of the bill itself, which will establish a clear and direct line of communication between the FERC and States and localities.”

“For the first time, the Senate Bill includes provisions that will allow Alabama to receive a share of the royalties from oil and gas leases in federal waters on the Outer Continental Shelf. This will provide over $16 million a year for conservation, master planning and infrastructure development for Alabama’s coastal areas.”

“Finally, I am hopeful that, during conference with the House, the conferees can come to agreement about exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). While the Senate’s bill did not include such a provision, the House bill did. I believe that oil exploration in ANWR, done in an environmentally safe and sound manner, is an important step towards reducing our dependency on foreign sources of oil,” Shelby concluded.

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