The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said Wednesday it will continue to press Congress in 2006 to take steps to expand the domestic supply of crude oil and natural gas.
"The Chamber will continue to fight for passage of ANWR [drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge] and the opening of the Outer Continental Shelf to environmentally sound oil and gas exploration," Chamber President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue told reporters during a "State of American Business" briefing in Washington, DC. "If we fail to do so, we will drive plants and industries out of our country in search of affordable energy."
Congressional efforts to open the coastal plain of ANWR to exploration and production and to allow drilling in protected offshore regions cratered in the last weeks and days of the 2005 legislative session. Top Republican energy policymakers have pledged to make ANWR and expanded offshore drilling priority issues in the upcoming session.
"We were...disappointed by the continuing ignorance and in some cases hypocrisy of many elected officials and thought leaders on energy [last year]. On the one hand, they bemoan the high price of energy and our dependence on foreign imports. On the other hand, they oppose virtually all the steps we need to address our energy needs," Donohue said.
"We must increase domestic production as we continue to advance conservation and develop [energy] alternatives," he noted.
"We will also press for removal of Senate provisions that constitute double taxation on energy companies through forced bookkeeping gimmicks and denial of long-standing foreign tax credits," Donohue said. Absent this action, "these provisions will make us even more vulnerable on energy and potentially drive companies out of our country."
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