NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Energy Bill Shows the Power of Pork

October 15, 2003

The proposed energy bill is packed with pet projects of particular Senators and Representatives, says Taxpayers for Common Sense, with total spending estimated at $60 billion and growing. One reported reason for the pork is to win votes for the controversial bill -- amidst what the New York Times calls growing opposition and the possibility of a filibuster.

The single largest project that would receive aid is a proposed $20 billion 3,500-mile natural gas pipeline from Alaska to the Lower 48. To subsidize the route favored by Alaska legislators, it could receive tax credits if the price of natural gas falls below a certain level and/or loan guarantees to the pipeline builders -- potentially worth billions of dollars.

Other potential bonanzas include:

  • Increased aid to corn growers by increasing ethanol production.
  • An $800 million loan guarantee for a coal gasification plant to be built in Minnesota.
  • A proposal to spend more than $1 billion in Idaho to build a nuclear reactor that could produce hydrogen, as well as electricity.

It appears that the final bill will not include a plan for oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; however, it may include restrictions on gas drilling on some public land along the eastern front of the Rockies.

Source: Carl Hulse, "Pet Projects Flood Energy Bill Before Crucial Wednesday Session," New York Times, October 15, 2003.


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