Shut Down the Energy Department

The U.S. Department of Energy was created in 1977 in order to . . .

  • Reduce dependency on foreign oil.
  • Develop alternative forms of energy.

Yet . . .

This is not surprising. The creation of the Department of Energy was mainly theater — a way of telling the American people that the Feds were "doing something" about high gasoline prices.

In reality, key decisions regarding oil production are out of the Department's hands . . .

  • It has no authority over oil drilling permits in areas like the Arctic Wildlife Refuge.
  • Decisions on projects like the trans-national Keystone XL Pipeline are in the hands of the Secretary of State, not Energy.
  • Other key regulations or policies are implemented by the Interior Department or the EPA, not Energy.

Instead, over 60% of the Department's budget is devoted to nuclear weapons storage, maintenance, and cleanup. These functions should be under the Department of Defense, not Energy.

Much of the rest of the Energy budget goes to corporate welfare including . . .

  • Research grants
  • Subsidies
  • Loan guarantees

For things like . . .

  • "Green" energy
  • Nuclear power

One such beneficiary was Solyndra, which received over $500 million in taxpayer-backed loan guarantees, yet promptly went bankrupt.

Subsidies exploit the political process. Usually, the competitive marketplace determines which goods should be produced and consumed. According to Nicholas Loris subsidies are harmful because . . .

  • They give one technology an unfair price advantage over others and reduce the incentive for that technology to become cost-competitive.
  • A technology that needs subsidies cannot compete economically without them, but projects that make economic sense attract investment and don't require subsidy.
  • Thriving incentives are destroyed, as evidenced by a shift from competitive technologies to uncompetitive (subsidized) technologies; this means waste for taxpayers AND consumers.
  • Perverse incentives are created, where more and more industries lobby for their "fair share" of handouts.

Finally, the very existence of a Department of Energy sends the wrong message: That the Federal Government should have the authority to control energy production and distribution.

Markets provide a more efficient, less-costly method of producing and distributing the energy needs of producers and consumers. You wouldn't want The State to ration your food, clothing, or shelter, would you? If not, then why should The State control energy supplies?

Some functions of the Energy Department should be transferred to the Defense Department. The rest should be eliminated altogether. Ending the Department of Energy will send the RIGHT message: Our energy needs are too important to be left up to the whims of political favor and unelected bureaucrats.

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We provide the first few words of the letter so that Congressional offices will see the most important point right at the start, and so that no one can hijack our system for another purpose. Here's the part we provide . . .

Please shut down the Department of Energy. End subsidies and cumbersome regulations. Allow a free market in energy.
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