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From the office of Oregon Congressman Greg Walden, 7/30/08

Information about the Sea Act energy bill and attached is a list of Qs and As regarding the bill.

To address America’s domestic energy needs, the SEA Act would allow energy production in America’s deep waters beyond 75 miles from shore. Through the royalties and bonus bids on the new leases and a small conservation of resources fee on liquid fuels imported on tankers, the SEA Act would commit $3.1 BILLION toward renewable energy production, create an innovative conservation program to convert three million gasoline-powered low-mileage vehicles to natural gas or gasoline-electric hybrids, and invest in a number of other strongly supported and bipartisan programs:

    • $600 million for geothermal energy production
    • $500 million for wave energy production
    • $500 million for wind and solar energy production
    • $500 million for biomass energy production
    • $500 million for hydropower energy production
    • $500 million for cellulosic energy production$1.1 billion in heating assistance for low-income Americans
    • $3.75 billion for a low-mileage efficiency program to convert gasoline-powered SUVs to either natural gas or gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles ($1,250 per vehicle for up to 3 million vehicles)
    • At least $1 billion for high schools, career technology programs, community colleges, universities, and job training programs
    • At least $1 billion for on- and offshore fish and wildlife habitat enhancement
    • $1.15 billion for a Strategic Unconventional Resources Program, including $600 million for higher education to study unconventional energy production
    • Help pay for reduction of the national budget deficit

The SEA Act would also expand coastal state authority over ocean resources. The bill would retain the automatic federal moratorium from 0 to 35 miles off the coast, but states could opt out of that ban. From 35 to 75 miles, the same moratorium would be in place, but states would need to opt in to the moratorium just once every five years. Currently, most states control all the resources out to just three miles off their shoreline — the SEA Act would extend that control to 12 miles to include complete control over sand, wave energy, and view shed resources. Fifty percent of the federal revenues would be shared with the states and other programs under the bill.

The United States imports approximately 60 percent of its oil, sending over $1.6 billion out of the country every day, largely to foreign cartels or countries that don’t like us very much ($160 million every day goes to Hugo Chavez and Venezuela alone). More energy resources are available in the areas of America’s Outer Continental Shelf that are closed off than all the energy that’s been produced in the Gulf of Mexico during the last 60 years combined.  Due to the federal court rulings, agency decisions and inflexible laws, our federal forest managers have had their hands tied and can no longer actively and appropriately manage the federal forests which you host in our counties.  Until such time that the leadership in Congress backs our effort to change this dire predicament in our forests (which would also reduce the forced reliance on the county payments program), we must have a real plan to fund county payments.  The SEA Act does just that for county payments, and also addresses the enormous energy supply issue we face in this country while investing heavily in our own domestic renewable energy production capability. 

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