Vitter asks Administration for better accounting on energy costs

Sen. David Vitter, R-La., the top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, said Dec. 2 that the Obama Administration needs to offer a better accounting on the regional benefits and costs of energy technologies and development.

Vitter was reacting to a report released Dec. 2 by the Institute for Energy Research (IER) on the impact of the federal wind energy tax credits for each state. According to the report, taxpayers in Vitter’s home state of Louisiana pay more than $39m per year to subsidize wind energy production.

On Nov. 18, Vitter sent a letter to Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), requesting an update on the economic data for domestic energy development, including oil and gas, coal, wind, and solar.

“I’ve always supported an all-of-the-above energy strategy; however, there are naturally some sources of energy that have proven to have a more positive impact on our economy and produce more revenue for the federal Treasury,” Vitter said in the Dec. 2 statement. “As we work on creating a better energy policy, it’s important to look toward the success stories that will bring stability and create jobs, especially from domestic energy production. The Administration needs to do a much better job of producing economic data, so we can better understand which energy sources are self-sustainable and bring in revenue, and which ones are costing the government and taxpayers.”

Vitter’s request to OMB asks it to break down the economic data behind renewable energy projects and traditional energy sources, including information about net and projected revenues, lease sales, and taxpayer-funded subsidies.

In 2011, Vitter requested comprehensive responses on domestic energy development from then-OMB Director Jacob Lew. The Dec. 2 letter follows up on that request, asking for more recent numbers and data.

Vitter, along with Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., has also asked the U.S. Department of Interior to explain the Administration’s economic reasoning in allowing offshore lease sales for wind energy in the Atlantic Ocean. The senators have noted that the agency will not allow offshore oil and gas leasing in the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), and have requested data on the economics of the wind lease sale, to compare with the value of a similar lease for oil and gas on equivalent acreage.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.