Department Of Interior

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Office of the Secretary
Contact:John Wright
For Immediate Release: November 21, 2003
Bipartisan Energy Bill Helps Interior Department Increase
Energy Security and Environmental Protection for American Families

More than two years ago, President Bush proposed a comprehensive national energy strategy, including over 100 specific recommendations to increase conservation, protect the environment, develop new sources of energy, improve energy security and expand the use of new technologies.

By promoting greater efficiency and cleaner energy technologies, the Energy Policy Act of 2003 will help improve air quality, reduce greenhouse gases, protect our natural resources and provide a cleaner, healthier environment for the American people. At the same time, it will help to ensure more affordable and reliable energy for America.

The bill will help the Department of the Interior to increase renewable and traditional energy production on federal lands and waters. Energy projects on federally managed lands and offshore areas supply about 28 percent of the nation's energy production. This includes: 35 percent of natural gas, 32 percent of oil, 35 percent of coal, 17 percent of hydropower and 48 percent of geothermal.

Increases environmentally responsible domestic oil and gas production using tax incentives and expanded research and development:

  • Deep water oil and gas incentives: Authorizes incentives to encourage exploration and production in the deep waters off the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Deep Well, Shallow Water Natural Gas Incentives: Provides incentives for the production of natural gas in the Gulf of Mexico and to help maintain low prices and adequate supplies for America.
  • " Increased production on federal lands: Provides reforms to speed up oil and natural gas development on federal lands, while ensuring environmental protection.

Increases renewable energy production on federal lands and outer continental shelf:

  • Biomass: Provides grants to improve the commercial value of biomass for electricity, transportation fuels and petroleum-based product substitutes.
  • Geothermal: Allows for production incentives to stimulate new geothermal production.
  • Outer continental shelf: Authorizes the Interior Secretary grant easements and rights-of-way for alternate energy-related uses on the OCS, and to act as lead agency for coordinating the permitting process.
  • Hydroelectric: Expedites the appeals process for hydroelectric relicensing, while protecting the environment and Indian trust responsibilities.

Promotes conservation and wetland restoration:

  • Cleans up orphaned and abandoned wells: Authorizes the Interior Secretary of Interior, with Agriculture, to establish a program for the remediation, reclamation and closure of orphaned, abandoned, or idled oil and gas wells.
  • Restores coastal wetlands: Provides $1.1 billion for preserving coastal wetlands over 10 years to address coastal erosion in the six states with offshore energy production.

Increases renewable and traditional energy production on Indian land:
  • Provides Indian tribes, on a voluntary basis, greater flexibility to lease energy resources, construct or operate electric generation, transmission or distribution facilities to process or refine energy resources.



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