Think you're getting the straight facts when you turn on the news?
What's In Your Water?
The EPA has identified over 800 pollutants in our waters! Do you know what is in your water?
Introducing discriminating legislation and undermining civil rights, find how the Bush administration has been doing this.
Bush and Big Business
The truth about Bush's special interest agenda, and the big businesses he serves
Sixty Harmful Sections of the Energy Bill
The National Environmental Trust
February 16, 2004
The National Environmental Trust's summary of key provisions
of the 2003 Energy Policy Act that are harmful to public health and the
environment, public lands and coastal areas, consumers and taxpayers, and
energy and national security. The full Senate Energy Bill is available
- Allows more smog pollution
for longer than the current Clean Air Act authorizes. Under the existing
Act, areas that have unhealthy air are required to reduce ozone-forming
smog pollution by strict statutory deadlines. If these areas fail to meet
these deadlines, they are given more time to clean up, but must adopt more
rigorous air pollution control measures. The bill attempts to allow
polluted areas to have more time to cleanup but without having to implement
stronger air pollution controls, placing a significant burden on states
and communities down-wind of the urban areas subject to this provision. Title
XIV Sec. 1443 p. 43.
- Exempts all oil and gas
construction activities, including roads, drill pads, pipeline corridors,
refineries, compressor stations, etc., from having to obtain a permit
controlling polluted stormwater runoff caused by construction activities,
as is currently required under the Clean Water Act. Pollution from the
construction of thousands of oil and gas sites across the country,
including the construction of the US section of the 3,500-mile Alaska
pipeline, would be exempted under this provision. Title III Sec. 328 p.
- Delays air pollution clean up
in southwestern Michigan for two years while the EPA conducts a study. Title
IX, Section 970.
- Dramatically increases air
pollution and global warming with huge new incentives for burning coal,
oil and gas. Titles III, IV, VIII.
- Claims to promote "clean
coal" but inhibits its deployment by disqualifying federally-funded
clean coal projects as "best available control technologies"
that must be adopted by other coal-powered industrial facilities. Title
IV Sec. 441 and Title XXXI.
- Threatens drinking water
sources by exempting from Safe Drinking Water Act regulation the
underground injection of chemicals during oil and gas development. Title
III Sec. 327 p. 54-55.
- Fails to ban MTBE, a toxic
gasoline additive that has contaminated drinking water for thousands of
Americans, until Dec. 2014. Moreover, the President can declare the MTBE
ban "null and void" (no criteria established) at any time prior
to June 2014, states can opt out of the ban, and states that have already
banned MTBE may have their laws overridden. Title XV Sec. 1502
- Gives legal protection to
owners of abandoned oil and gas wells who enter into cleanup plans with
the Department of Interior by exempting them from civil liability for
pollution discharges and other environmental hazards associated with the
those wells. Title III Sec. 318(g)(3)(B) p. 33.
- Encourages the mixture of
hazardous wastes in cement and concrete products as an alternative to safe
disposal in permitted hazardous waste landfills. Benefits one Oklahoma
mine in particular. Title I Sec. 110 p. 26, Title XIV Sec. 1445 p. 48.
- Fails to include standards
for providing clean, renewable energy sources that would save consumers
money on their utility bills, benefit farmers, create jobs, spur economic
development, and reduce air pollution and global warming emissions. Title
- Begins to establish a system
whereby electric utilities can escape emission reduction obligations by
purchasing emissions "credits" from mobile sources such as cars
and trucks, even though this type of "cross-sector" trading
scheme has proved unworkable in several states where it has been tried. Title
VII Sec. 752 p. 43
- Fails to do anything to
address global warming.
- Provides millions in taxpayer
funds to uranium companies for polluting mining practices that threaten
drinking water aquifers. The provision contains a red herring exclusion
for New Mexico; one company with operations in New Mexico and other states
could receive bail out money for mines in other states, freeing up company
dollars for proposed mines in Navajo communities in New Mexico that would
threaten the sole source of drinking water for 15,000 Native Americans. Title
VI Section 631.
- Reclassifies radioactive waste from a former uranium
extraction plant in Fernald, Ohio, so that it may be disposed in a Utah
dump not equipped to properly contain the waste's radioactivity, setting
dangerous precedent for arbitrarily reclassifying radioactive waste. Title
VI Sec. 634.
- Attempts to allow the
Interior Secretary via "Secretarial Order" to designate utility
and pipeline corridors across public lands without seeking public input
through a land use planning process. Title III Sec. 350 p.83.
- Authorizes the leasing of the
entire National Petroleum Reserve Alaska for oil and gas production
without protection for wildlife, native subsistence hunting and fishing,
and sensitive areas. Also gives away taxpayer dollars to the industry by
allowing the Secretary to waive royalties from any other production that
occurs on this land. Title III Sec. 317.
- Vests the Secretary of Energy
with unprecedented authority to permit electric power lines across federal
public lands and override federal agency objections to siting decisions,
allowing transmission lines to be sited through protected areas such as
National Monuments and National Conservation Areas. Title XII Sec. 1221
- Allows applicants for federal
drilling permits to take up to two years to comply with application
requirements, but requires the BLM only ten days to make decisions on
drilling permit applications. Title III Sec. 348 p. 79.
- Establishes an "Office
of Federal Project Coordination" within the White House intended to
expedite the permitting and completion of energy projects on federal
lands. Title III Sec. 341 p. 66.
- Requires the United States
Geological Survey to identify various "restrictions and
impediments" to the development of federal oil and gas deposits.
These "restrictions and impediments" include policies and
regulations designed to protect fish and wildlife, wild lands, and
cultural and historical values on the public lands. Title III Sec. 345
- Establishes a perpetual
"pilot program" for expediting the approval of energy projects
in the Rocky Mountain region. Title III Sec. 347 p. 75.
- Lifts the 240,060-acre
limitation on the amount of federal oil and gas acreage one entity can
control, encouraging monopolization of the acquisition of federal oil and
gas resources. Title III Sec. 323 p. 47.
- Mandates the siting of a high
voltage electricity transmission line through the Cleveland National
Forest and other public lands, overriding a decision by the State of California
rejecting such siting. Title III Sec. 353 p. 96.
- Encourages oil and gas
development under Padre Island National Seashore, notwithstanding its
status as a National Park. Title III Sec. 354 p. 98.
- Waives existing National
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) environmental review and public
participation process for all types of energy development projects on
Indian lands in favor of an unspecified new process. Title V.
- Grants the hydropower
industry unprecedented rights to appeal environmental conditions designed
to protect affected public lands or ensure safe fish passage while denying
those procedures to tribes, states, or members of the public. Title III
Sec. 231 p. 59.
- Authorizes $550 million ($50
million for 11 years) for timber companies to log trees in our national
forests, including old growth forests and large fire-resistant trees
important for forest health, and burn them for energy. Title II Sec.
- Permits an energy cable that is running the length of the
Long Island Sound and that is in violation of both state and federal
permits, to be activated. This cable is currently subject to a federal
lawsuit by the Attorney General of the State of Connecticut and has faced
strong bipartisan opposition due to the navigational, environmental,
agricultural, and economic impacts caused by the installation and
utilization of the cable. Title XIV Sec. 1441 p. 42.
- Seeks to create unprecedented
streamlined authority for the Department of Interior to permit new energy
projects in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) without adequate oversight
or standards. Title III Sec. 321 p. 37.
- Attempts to weaken states'
ability under the Coastal Zone Management Act to have a say in projects
and federal activities that affect their coasts including limiting appeals
related to pipeline construction or offshore mineral development. Title
III Sec. 325 p. 50, Section 330 p. 57.
- Circumvents and expedites the
environmental review process for construction of "storage" facilities
on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) for Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), oil,
and other substances, and construction and expansion of Liquefied Natural
Gas (LNG) terminals, both onshore or offshore. Title III Sec. 320 p.
36, Sec. 329 p. 55.
- Creates incentives for
expanded offshore oil and gas drilling. Under the terms of this provision,
coastal states utilizing congressional or presidential moratorium
protections would be inelegible for revenues from this section, while
coastal states allowing more offshore drilling closer to their shorelines
would be rewarded. Title XIV Subtitle B p. 6 Sec. 1411 and Sec. 1412.
- Bribes coastal states to
accept coastal drilling through increased revenue sharing provisions,
while targeting the revenue towards further industrialization of the
coastal zone instead of channeling funding towards needed environmental
mitigation of oil and gas impacts on coastal resources. Title XIV Sec.
1412 pp. 6-29.
- Gives away taxpayer owned oil
and gas to the petroleum industry in fragile Alaskan waters, through
royalty suspensions. Title III Sec. 316 p. 18.
- Promotes the development of
all Outer Continental Shelf lands, including sensitive moratoria protected
lands and potentially national marine sanctuaries, through two ill-defined
studies of energy resources within the OCS. Title III Sec. 352(b) pp.
95-96, and Title XVI Sec. 1601.
- Grants the hydropower industry unprecedented rights to
appeal environmental conditions designed protect affected public lands or
ensure safe fish passage while denying those procedures to tribes, states,
or members of the public. Title II Section 231 p. 59.
- Gives billions of dollars in
tax breaks and subsidies to big energy companies.
- Tax breaks are even provided
for technologies that will increase pollution. Some of the most egregious
- creating a program to assist
and encourage companies to develop "ultra deepwater and
unconventional" gas reserves, including coalbed methane, an existing
profitable industry. Title IX, Subtitle E part II Sec. 949
- mandating royalty exemptions
for offshore wells deeper than 400 meters; Title III Section 315
- allowing the Secretary of
the Interior to reimburse oil and gas companies when they pay for
environmental review of their projects; Title III Sec. 326 p. 52.
- creating a new, first-ever $1.5 billion tax break for
burning coal, Title XIII Sections 1351-1353.
- Requires taxpayers, rather
than polluters, to pay up to $2 billion to clean up leaking underground
storage tanks containing gasoline and other toxic chemicals even at sites
where viable responsible parties are identifiable. Title XV, Subtitle B
- Provides $2 billion in
"MTBE Conversion Assistance" for oil companies that knew full
well that MTBE would cause widespread water contamination but drove the
market for MTBE anyway. Title XV Sec. 1502.
- Allows the federal government
to give private utilities the right to take private land by eminent domain
to site transmission lines if the state has not acted within one year.
First-time-ever sweeping federal preemption of state authority to site
transmission lines, based on very vague criteria, FOR EVERY STATE BUT
TEXAS, which is specifically exempted from such preemption. Title
XII, Subtitle B (TX exemption Sec. 1221, subsection k p. 18).
- Extends for 20 years the
Price Anderson Act's limits on liability for nuclear plant operators,
which would guarantee limited liability for the nuclear industry in case
of a catastrophic accident. Title VI Sections 601-609.
- Repeals the Public Utility
Holding Company Act, the main law to protect consumers from market
manipulation, fraud, and abuse in the electricity sector even while
evidence of corrupt industry behavior is still front page news and
ratepayers are owed billions to compensate for the industry's illegal
activities. Title XII Sec. 1263 p. 92.
- Authorizes a $1.1 billion
nuclear reactor in Idaho, with a potential exemption from normal Federal
project management rules, to demonstrate hydrogen production technologies
that are not projected to be economic. Title VI Sec. 651 p. 40.
- Leaves landowners, ranchers
and others affected by oil and gas development under their property
powerless to protect their land and water from irresponsible development
- Waives existing law and
mandates expeditious oil and gas leasing throughout the National Petroleum
Reserve Alaska, and allows for waivers of all royalties due the taxpayers
as a result of leasing of these lands. Title III Sec. 317 p. 18
- Spends $3.7 billion for
polluting coal-based technologies, and add pork-barrel loan guarantees for
the first time in the 17-year history of program. Title IV.
- Allows the Interior
Department to reimburse the oil and gas industry from federal royalty
revenues for the costs of environmental analyses required to obtain
drilling permits on federal lands. Title III Sec. 326 p. 53.
- Reverses the Federal Power
Act's consumer protection requirements by allowing parties to enter into
contracts for electricity or natural gas that cannot be reviewed or
challenged by the Federal Regulatory Commission except prospectively, with
the burden on FERC, under a "public interest" standard so high
that it has rarely been met. Title XII Sec. 1286.
- Authorizes the Energy
Department to provided open-ended U.S. loan guarantees for coal-to-synthetic-diesel
fuel projects, a failed strategy last attempted by the now defunct
Synthetic Fuels Corporation in the early 1980s. Title IX Sec. 937 p.
- Allows the Interior
Department to compensate oil and gas companies 115 percent of the costs of
cleaning up abandoned wells on public lands. Title III Sec. 318(g)(2)(B)
- Limits the Bureau of Land
Management's ability to receive fair market value for utility corridors
crossing public lands. Title III Sec. 349 p. 81.
- Gives production tax credits
for "advanced" nuclear reactors that in actuality could be used
to build any new nuclear reactor, even those using conventional
technologies. Title XIII Sec. 1330.
- Appears to increase the burden of proof on the Commodity
Futures Trading Commission in cases of investigations of market
manipulation and/or reports to investors. The existing statutory language
forbids reports containing "false or misleading or knowingly
inaccurate reports." The new language replaces that phrasing with
"knowingly false or knowingly misleading or knowingly inaccurate
reports." Title III Sec. 332 p 59.
- Reverses a long-standing U.S.
nuclear non-proliferation policy against reprocessing waste from
commercial nuclear reactors and against using plutonium to generate energy
for commercial use. Title IX, Section 926
- Fails to take any step
whatsoever to require that the nation reduce its dependence on oil or
improve the fuel economy of our cars, trucks and SUVs. Title VII
- Extends the Dual-Fueled
Vehicles loophole that allows automakers to get corporate average fuel
economy (CAFE) credit for producing vehicles that can run on gasoline or
alternative fuels. Because these vehicles currently run on alternative
fuels less than 1 percent of the time according to the Department of
Transportation, extending this loophole would allow excess gasoline
consumption attributable to this program to reach as much as 155,000
barrels of oil daily by 2008. Title VII Sec. 773 p. 61.
- Makes it more difficult to
update fuel economy standards by adding new requirements for redundant
studies to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's CAFE
standards setting process, thus creating new opportunities for litigation
to prevent NHTSA from undertaking oil-saving increases in automobile fuel
efficiency standards. Title VII Sec. 772 p. 60.
- Fails to include a provision
to require the President to develop and implement a plan to reduce oil
consumption by at least one million barrels per day by 2013. Titles I,
- Fails to ensure deployment of
hydrogen fuel cell vehicles by authorizing appropriations of $2.19 billion
over the next five years with no accountability for achieving oil savings
or pollution reductions. There are no production and deployment
requirements, or even goals, to ensure that a meaningful number of
hydrogen vehicles will be delivered to consumers. Title VIII Secs. 803
& 809 pp. 3 & 18.
- Reverses 10-year policy of
restricting the export of bomb-grade uranium for the benefit of one
company. Title VI Sec. 633 p. 20.
- Reclassifies undefined
"residual" amounts of depleted uranium as "low-level"
radioactive waste, thereby making it subject to far less secure handling
and disposal protections than are required for depleted uranium generally.
Title VI Sec. 637(a)(5)(B) p. 37.
- Strikes down requirements in current law for utilities to
diversify and decentralize the electricity supply by purchasing small
amounts of renewable power. Replaces it with nothing. Title XII, Sec. 1253(m)