Congress Put OPEC in Driver’s Seat, Alliance to Save Energy Testifies Today

Release Date: Wednesday, June 28, 2000

“OPEC is once again in the driver’s seat and Congress has handed them the keys,” testified David M. Nemtzow, President of the Alliance to Save Energy, which was founded by then-Senator Charles Percy during the oil crises of the 1970s.

“For the last decade, we have had energy policy by wishful thinking. We wished that low gas prices would continue and that OPEC would remain disorganized. We wished that electric power demand would be satisfied without regulatory oversight. The current situation shows that wishful thinking won’t cut it anymore for the American people,” Nemtzow testified today at a House Commerce Committee hearing.

The hearing covered consumer effects of the current energy situation with gasoline prices, crude oil supply, electricity reliability, and natural gas. Nemtzow asserted, “The math here is simple. Domestic oil supplies are steadily decreasing while demand is breaking records. We have a simple choice: More imports and unreliability or more energy efficiency.”

Nemtzow criticized the Republican leadership for failing to support energy efficiency since it gained the majority in 1995. “The first thing the leadership did when they got in was to cut research and deployment for clean energy by 30 percent and to put a gag order on even considering increases in fuel economy standards. Just last week, the chairmen of the Budget and Science Committees helped pass an amendment on the House floor that would wipe out all cutting edge automotive research. This Congress has consistently failed to invest in an affordable, environmentally responsible energy future.”

He challenged Congress to immediately take real steps to help consumers lower their energy bills and help the nation lessen its growing oil dependence and electricity unreliability:

  • Fully fund the President’s request for energy efficiency research, development, and deployment
  • Remove the rider on consideration of increased CAFE standards for autos and SUVs/light trucks
  • Enact a public benefits fund to help head off brown-outs and price spikes during peak electricity demand
  • Enact tax credits for the purchase of highly energy efficient homes, cars, appliances and equipment