House Republicans Were For Conservation Fee Before They Were Against It

In the wake of the BP disaster, House Democrats are acting on our commitment to protect America's families and businesses, rebuild the Gulf Coast, hold BP and oil companies accountable, and work to ensure that a spill of this kind never happens again. Today, Congressional Republicans are at it again — siding with Big Oil against the interests of the American people.

Republicans are currently speaking on the House floor in opposition to the CLEAR Act, legislation to effectively prevent and respond to oil spills and protect our coastal communities and waters, because the bill includes a $2 conservation fee for oil extracted from federal lands.

But House Republicans voted for a $9 conservation fee in energy legislation sponsored by former Republican Congressman, now Governor, Bobby Jindal (R-LA) in 2006. In fact, in 2007, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), then-House Republican Study Committee Chairman, described the conservation fee included in HR 6 in 2007 as:

similar to Republican-sponsored language that was included in the House-passed OCS drilling bill…

The only difference between then and now is that the fee in this bill is smaller and Big Oil is richer.

The fact is the conservation fee will have no impact on prices at the pump because oil prices are determined on the world market. Energy produced from federal lands and waters represents only 1/3 of total domestic energy production, and a sliver of total global energy production. The $2 per barrel fee will be paid for by Big Oil, not the American people. Because energy in federal areas belongs to all Americans, the resource conservation fee that will be assessed on federal oil and gas production will fund key conservation programs that will benefit all Americans.

See the four bills the House has passed with similar conservation fees with Republican support since 2007:

HR 6, 1/12/07»
HR 2419, 7/27/07»
HR 3221, 8/4/07»
HR 6899, 9/16/08»