The Administration supports the one-year extension of the Strategic Petroleum
Reserve and the International Energy Agency (IEA) programs contained in H.R.
2472. The Administration, however, is concerned that H.R. 2472 is deficient in
two important respects.
First, the bill does not provide the necessary expansion of certain critical
anti-trust protections for U.S. oil companies. Without these protections, U.S.
oil companies would be unable to assist the IEA in planning and carrying out a
coordinated drawdown of government petroleum stock. As a result, key crisis
planning activities will have to be curtailed and the IEA energy emergency
response capability would be impaired, thus jeopardizing U.S. energy security.
Second, the bill fails to reauthorize other programs included in the Energy
Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA). These programs provide energy conservation
assistance for States, schools, and hospitals, and help to commercialize
alternative fuels trucks. These programs help improve energy efficiency and
their absence would impair U.S. energy security.
Because of these deficiencies, the Administration strongly urges the House to
defer action on H.R. 2472 and to instead, enact S. 417, as passed by the
Senate. S. 417 contains the needed anti-trust exemptions and reauthorizes the
full range of EPCA programs. If the House enacts H.R. 2472, the Administration
will work in conference to ensure that the bill presented to the President
contains the necessary authorities to guarantee the Nation's energy security.