202-331-1010 • www.cei.org • Competitive Enterprise Institue
Increase Access to Energy
Economic prosperity and our standard of living depend on affordable energy. Yet sincethe 1970s, successive Congresses have largelypursued anti-energy policies to constrict energysupplies and raise energy prices. The 111
Con-gress should strike out in a new direction.Mandates and subsidies for renewable, al-ternative, and conventional energy technologieshave done far more harm than good. Tens of bil-lions of taxpayer dollars have been wasted onsubsidies, and subsidies and mandates togetherhave provided a disincentive for alternativetechnologies to become competitive. It is un-likely, for example, that wind and solar powerwill ever become viable forms of energy pro-duction as long as they can count on continuingsubsidies and mandates. Congress should:
Repeal all mandates and subsidies
. The2005 and 2007 ethanol mandates, coupled withthe 51-cents-per-gallon refundable tax credit,have had particularly unfortunate indirect con-sequences. The exact contribution of the ethanolmandate to higher grain prices—and thereby toworld hunger—is uncertain, but still real, andquite evident in food riots around the world.The ethanol mandates should be repealed im-mediately. All other mandates, subsidies, andincentives—including those for conventionalenergy—should also be repealed. The focus onsubsidizing and mandating uncompetitive formsof energy poses grave threats to our future elec-tricity needs. Wind and solar power can at mostprovide only a fraction of additional electricitydemand over the next decade.
Open the nation’s infrastructure to pri-vate investment
. In addition to repealing man-dates, subsidies, and incentives for all types of energy production, Congress should removeregulatory obstacles that are preventing privateinvestments in new energy infrastructure. A“smart grid” will never be built until Congresschanges regulations so that investors have anopportunity—not a guarantee—to profit fromthe hundreds of billions of dollars of invest-ments required.
Allow access to America’s domestic energyresources
. The 110
Congress let lapse the mor-atorium on oil and gas exploration in federalOuter Continental Shelf (OCS) areas that hadbeen in place since 1982. President George W.Bush rescinded the executive order moratoriumcovering the same 85 percent of OCS areas sur-rounding the lower 48 states. The 111
Congressshould push the new Obama administration toprepare OCS areas with high oil and gas poten-tial for leasing by competitive bidding. Congressshould also open the coastal plain of the ArcticNational Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas explora-tion and production, and repeal many of the ad-ministrative withdrawals of federal lands from