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Jim Gerlach: 6 Years With No Serious Energy Plan

More of the Same from Washington

July 24, 2008

MALVERN, PA – Jim Gerlach released his Congressional e-newsletter yesterday, accusing Democrats and Nancy Pelosi of spending “Another Week With No Serious Energy Plan.”

“This is business as usual for Jim Gerlach,” said Roggio Campaign Manager Liz Conroy. “Divisive rhetoric and partisan name-calling doesn’t change the fact that Gerlach has been in Congress for 6 years and has repeatedly ignored our growing energy crisis while lining the pockets of Big Oil with government subsidies.”

Bob Roggio believes that we need to work together to achieve real change, and that change starts with new leadership. We can’t address this nation’s energy crisis when Jim Gerlach votes with the oil companies and accepts over $85,000 in campaign contributions from Big Oil. We need to aggressively invest in clean and renewable energy and improve energy efficiency. We need to get on a path to energy independence by reducing our consumption and increasing fuel economy standards, not by drilling our way out of the problem. We need tighter regulation on oil speculators. Most importantly, we need accountability and real independence from the oil companies.

Jim Gerlach has had 6 years to act and is just starting to talk.

Gerlach’s Votes on Energy Speak for Themselves

Gerlach Opposed Tax Credits for Renewable Energy Facilities

In 2008, Gerlach voted against H.R. 5351, a bill that would extend tax credits for wind facilities, closed loop and open loop biomass facilities, geothermal and solar facilities, small irrigation power facilities, landfill gas facilities, trash combustion facilities, and hydropower facilities for three years (Sec. 101). The bill creates new "clean renewable energy" bonds and designates a $2 billion limit on those bonds, which would be allocated to qualified projects of public power providers and cooperative electric companies (Sec. 104). It also prevents tax deductions to major integrated oil companies for income resulting from the domestic production of oil and gas (Sec. 301). The bill passed the House 236-182.

Gerlach Opposed Cracking Down on Price Gouging & Lowering Gas Prices

In 2005, Gerlach voted against a measure to provide the Federal Trade Commission with new authority to investigate and prosecute those that engage in predatory pricing, from oil companies on down to gas stations, with the emphasis on those who profit the most. This includes price gouging of gasoline and natural gas, home heating oil and propane. The measure increased funding for the low-income home energy assistance program through fines from price-gouging companies and created a strategic refinery reserve with capacity equal to 5 percent of the total United States demand for gasoline, home heating oil and other refined petroleum products. [HR 3893 , Vote #517, 10/7/2005; Reps. Stupak & Boucher, Remarks, Congressional Record, pg H8780, 10/7/05; Failed 199-222; R 2-222; D 196-0; I 1-0] [HR 3893 , Vote #518, 10/7/2005; Rep Tim Bishop, Remarks - Congressional Record, pg H8790, 10/7/05; Failed 200-222; R 3-222; D 196-0; I 1-0]

Gerlach Voted For Sham Refinery Proposal That Did Nothing to Lower Energy Costs for Consumers

In 2005, Gerlach voted for legislation to speed the approval of refinery permits, allow a refinery to appeal to the government for compensation if operations are stalled by unforeseen regulation or litigation and call for the President to identify new refinery sites on federal land, possibly including wildlife refuges and national forests. The United States has not built a refinery since 1976, and in a series of memos in the 1990s, major energy companies warned they needed to reduce the number of refineries to boost profits. Even a House Republican remarked that the bill "will do nothing for consumers and will hurt taxpayers...but it sure will help the bottom line of oil companies." [HR 3893, Vote #519, 10/7/2005; Washington Post, 8/6/05; Dallas Morning News, 10/7/05; Passed 212-210; R 212-13; D 0-196; I 0-1]

Gerlach Voted Against Cracking Down On Price Gouging

In 2005, Gerlach voted against a proposal to make it illegal during an energy crisis to sell crude oil, gasoline or petroleum at unconscionable levels. The legislation would also provide the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) with new authority to investigate and prosecute those that engage in this "predatory pricing," from oil companies on down to local gas stations, with an emphasis on those who profit most. This includes the gouging of gasoline, home heating oil, propane or natural gas. Some fines collected from such offences will go towards the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) which aids consumers in paying their heating bills. [HR 3402, Vote #500, 9/28/2005; Rep Stupak Press Release, 9/28/05; Failed 195-226; R 0-226; D 194-0; I 1-0]

Gerlach Voted for Final Energy Bill that Gave Billions to the Oil and Gas Industries

In 2005, Gerlach voted for the energy conference report that exempts oil and gas industries from some clean-water laws, streamlines permits for oil wells and power lines on public lands, and helps the hydropower industry appeal environmental restrictions. One obscure provision would repeal a Depression-era law that has prevented consolidation of public utilities, potentially transforming the nation's electricity markets. It also includes an estimated $85 billion worth of subsidies and tax breaks for most forms of energy -- including oil and gas, "clean coal," ethanol, electricity, and solar and wind power. The bill included $2 billion for "risk insurance" in case new nuclear plants run into construction and licensing delays. And nuclear utilities will be eligible for taxpayer-backed loan guarantees of as much as 80 percent the cost of their plants. The bill passed, 275-156. [HR 6, Vote #445, 7/28/2005; Washington Post, 7/30/05; Passed 275-156; R 200-31; D 75-124; I 0-1]

Gerlach Voted For Another Special Interest Energy Bill That Protected Polluters from Lawsuits

In 2004, Gerlach voted for an energy bill that would give billions in tax breaks to the oil, gas and coal industry while shielding manufacturers of a fuel additive from environmental lawsuits. The additive methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) is made primarily in House Republican leader Tom DeLay's home state of Texas, and DeLay has refused to drop the provision, which a number of oil companies also support. MTBE has been blamed for contaminating water supplies in 28 states, from California to New Hampshire. The bill included $25.7 billion in tax breaks, including $11.9 billion to encourage oil and gas production, $2.5 billion for "clean coal" programs, and $1.8 billion for the electric power industry and other businesses. The bill passed, 244-178. [HR 4503, Vote #241, 6/15/2004; Vote #241, 6/15/04; Los Angeles Times, 6/16/04. San Francisco Chronicle, 6/16/04; Passed 244-178; R 198-25; D 46-152; I 0-1]

Gerlach Voted For Gluttonous Energy Bill Described As “Leave No Lobbyist Behind.”

In 2003, Gerlach voted for an energy bill that the National Taxpayers Union and the American Conservative Union described as "chock full of subsidies, pork barrel projects, and unnecessary spending that have little, if anything, to do with our nation's energy needs." The bill would authorize $25.7 billion in tax breaks and spending over the next decade, including $17 billion for developing oil, gas, coal and nuclear power. Additionally, the measure would shield oil companies from lawsuits for water contamination caused by MTBE, a gasoline additive. More than 1,500 U.S. cities say they face costly MTBE pollution clean-ups. The provision could nullify more than 130 lawsuits nationwide. The bill passed, 246-180. [HR 6 , Vote #630, 11/18/2003; National Taxpayers Union & American Conservative Union, Letter to the Senate, 12/1/03; New York Times, 11/19/03; Philadelphia Inquirer, 11/15/03; San Francisco Chronicle, 11/19/03; Houston Chronicle, 11/26/03; Dallas Morning News, 11/22/03; Passed 246-180; R 200-25; D 46-154; I 0-1] [HR 6, Vote #145, 4/11/2003; Houston Chronicle, 4/12/03; Passed 247-175; R 207-17; D 40-157; I 0-1]

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