Davis co-sponsoring energy act seeking 'No More Excuses'

Hank Hayes • May 14, 2008 at 12:00 AM

In an e-mailed news release, U.S. Rep. David Davis says he has made it a point to offer his constituents a solution to high gas prices: the “No More Excuses Energy Act.”

It’s a legislative measure that hasn’t moved forward in the Democrat-controlled Congress since being introduced in July 2007. It has been referred to various House subcommittees but hasn’t advanced.

Davis, nonetheless, has taken credit for the legislation in recent speeches.

“Do you think OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) would drop their prices the next day — the very next day — if they know that Americans are serious about using our own resources and in an environmentally friendly way? ... That’s why I’m carrying the No More Excuses Act,” Davis, R-Tenn., told Republicans attending the Sullivan County GOP Reagan Day Dinner last Saturday night.

Davis, a freshman incumbent who is seeking re-election, became one of more than 40 co-sponsors of the bill last month, and he talks about its promise throughout the 1st Congressional District.

But the bill’s prime sponsor is U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, according to Congress’ Web site.

The legislation appears to be one indicator of the vast differences between Republicans and Democrats on energy policy.

“The No More Excuses Energy Act approaches our energy crisis by increasing all types of energy production here in the United States,” Davis said. “Until we begin to produce more energy here at home in the United States, we are at the mercy of many unstable energy producers who hate our freedoms and religion. The No More Excuses Energy Act is exactly how it sounds — no more excuses for high gasoline prices.”

The bill’s highlights include encouraging new refinery construction by requiring the Internal Revenue Service to take action to allow tax-exempt bonds to be used for construction of certain refineries; extending through 2018 the tax credit for producing electricity from wind facilities; and allowing tax credits for the production of electricity from nuclear energy.

The bill also requires the president to designate at least 10 sites for oil or natural gas refineries on federal lands and make such sites available to the private sector for construction of refineries.

It also repeals the prohibition against producing oil and gas from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and directs the Secretary of the Interior to implement a competitive oil and gas leasing program in the Coastal Plain of Alaska.

In contrast, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi points to what the “New Direction Congress” has done to promote American energy independence and prevent the manipulation of oil prices.

In a letter sent last month to House Republican Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, Pelosi referred to passed legislation to enable the Department of Justice to take legal action against OPEC — controlled entities that drive up global prices; another bill to give the Federal Trade Commission the authority to investigate and punish those who artificially inflate gas prices; and a bill to extend tax credits for renewable energy sources.

Davis’ main Republican opponent in the August GOP primary, Johnson City Mayor Phil Roe, indicated there are no quick solutions to high energy prices.

“The question in the country is: How are we going to build a secure and sustainable energy system? That’s what we need and haven’t done,” Roe said. “It’s not going to be quick, and it is not going to be cheap. The advantage of fossil fuel or oil is simple. ... It doesn’t disrupt anything when you pump it out of the ground.”

Regarding an increasing focus on corn-based ethanol, Roe said: “I think we ought to take corn out of the tank and put it back on the dinner table.”

He also advocated nuclear power as a cheaper energy source, as well as conservation.

“What did your mom and dad say when you went out of the room? Cut that light off.”

For more about the No More Excuses Energy Act go to www.thomas.gov. The bill’s number is H.R. 3089.

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