Jul 24 2008

Shelby: Common Sense, Comprehensive Energy Plan

U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) today filed an amendment that would allow energy exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the Outer Continental Shelf and domestic oil shale extraction on federal lands.  The Shelby Amendment directs a portion of the federal government’s increased revenues created as a result of the drilling towards research and development into alternative fuels, energy conservation products, products that both develop and use energy in safer, cleaner and more efficient ways and for public education on the benefits of energy conservation. The rest of the funds would go to the Federal Highway Trust Fund to meet the nation’s infrastructure needs. 

“Unfortunately, Congress cannot singlehandedly lower gas prices,” said Shelby.  “What we can do, and what this amendment does do, is change the environment in which the energy market currently operates.  I believe it is Congress’ role to create the conditions that would lower prices.  This amendment not only increases drilling to ease gas prices by creating more supply, but also directs the revenues created by drilling to research and development of products that could replace oil and gas.  This is a common sense approach to what I consider the greatest challenge facing our nation today.”

This legislation would not change any of the current revenue sharing agreements between state governments and the federal government.  Any increase of the federal revenue share would be divided, with 20 percent going to the Federal Highway Trust Fund, as long as that amount does not exceed that previous year’s deficit.  The remaining 80 percent would go to the Energy Independence Trust Fund, which would be administered through the Department of Energy and would be dispersed through a competitive grant process.