2005 National Energy Policy Act

NSPE Positions
General Principles: To reduce our reliance on foreign sources of energy, all economically feasible domestic energy options and underdeveloped technologies should be explored, along with a vigorous program of long-term national emphasis on energy conservation and efficiency.

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: NSPE supports oil exploration and development of ANWR, as well as exploration of the Outer Continental Shelf.

Energy Efficiency and Conservation: NSPE supports efforts to increase efficiency standards for automobiles and use of the most energy efficient design and construction methods and materials for both public and private buildings.

Energy R&D: Federal support for research and development of alternative energy sources should be used to spur private sector initiatives.

Nuclear Power: NSPE supports the expedited construction and licensing for new nuclear power plants and extension of existing plants. NSPE supports the permanent reauthorization of the Price-Anderson Act, which limits the liability of energy plant operators for damages up to $10 billion in the event of a nuclear accident.

Alternative Technologies: NSPE supports research into alternative technologies, such as improved recovery of oil and gas, fuel cells, clean coal technology, fusion systems, solar and wind energy, and other renewable sources.

International Policy: Since the U.S. uses a large percentage of total world energy, NSPE believes the U.S. should assume a leadership role in the development of a world-centered energy policy.

Global Warming: We encourage the utilization of nuclear power and alternative resource energy where feasible, in lieu of burning fossil fuels. Where burning fossil fuels remains viable and necessary, we must minimize the effect of emissions of these gases through efficient stack gas cleanup, and by burning fuels more cleanly.

Background
On August 8, 2005, President Bush signed into law (PL 109-58) comprehensive energy legislation, ending a four-year battle to gain passage of the bill. While the bill includes much of what the president sought, the legislation reflects the compromises Democrats and Republicans needed to make to ensure passage. Highlights include:

  • The final bill is almost as notable for what was left out as for what was included. The most controversial provision removed was liability protection for the producers of the gasoline additive Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBE). MTBE has been blamed for contaminating water supplies around the country. The bill also does not include language authorizing oil and gas development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, although that may be authorized by Congress in separate legislation later this year. Finally, the package does not include, as many had urged, an increase in the mandatory fuel economy standards for trucks and cars.
  • The tax incentives included in the energy package are almost evenly divided between development and conservation interests. Overall, the legislation provides $14.6 billion in tax breaks for energy investments. Clean coal facilities will receive $1.6 billion in subsidies, $2.7 billion for renewable energy, $2.8 billion for fossil fuels, and $1.3 billion for conservation.
  • Nuclear power will be a big winner under the legislation to the tune of $1.5 billion. An initiative known as "Nuclear Power 2010" has the goal of bringing on-line a new generation of nuclear power plants over the coming decade. The bill also extends until 2025 the Price-Anderson Act, which caps the liability of the nuclear industry at $10 billion in the event of a nuclear power plant accident.
  • Provides $200 million per-year through fiscal year 2014 for a public-private sector initiative to develop and encourage the use of clean-coal technologies.
  • Triples the mandatory use of biofuels, such as ethanol, in gasoline over the next six years.
  • Provides over $1 billion in funding for the public-private sector initiative to develop vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells by 2020.
  • Repeals the 1935 Public Utility Holding Company Act, which limits the jurisdiction and operations of power companies.

NSPE Reference
NSPE Energy Position Statement (#1721)

Issue Brief and Position: