Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

March 01, 2006

Price triggers alter revenue from leases

As chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Resources, I have spent considerable time studying the payments the federal government receives for deep ocean oil and gas production. And I feel that The Sun's editorial "Found money" (Feb. 21) unfairly characterized Congress' recent work on this issue.

I want to make my position abundantly clear: I do not believe production incentives for oil and gas should apply during periods of record-high prices.

Energy production incentives, known as royalty relief, should be designed to give stability to the boom-and-bust industry, to make America the best place to produce energy and to create jobs even when the price of oil is just $10 a barrel.

When we crafted the incentives in the Energy Policy Act of 2005, we included instructions for threshold "price triggers," so the incentives for energy companies only kick in during periods of low prices.

When oil hits a certain price, the administration can take away these incentives.

The Sun's editorial incorrectly implied that we did not include these instructions for price triggers in last year's act.

Congress also wrote the 1995 energy law's production incentives in such a way that the Clinton administration could stop offering these incentives during periods of high prices by using price triggers.

Unfortunately, the Clinton administration offered oil and gas leases in 1998 and 1999 without royalty relief price triggers. Such price triggers would have removed incentives during periods of high energy prices while keeping domestic energy production strong during periods of low prices.

But now, because of the absence of these triggers on those leases, the federal government could miss out on billions of dollars in revenue.

My job as chairman now is to examine why the 1995 act was not implemented consistently in the late 1990s. And I intend to get to the bottom of this issue.

But I believe a royalty relief program, when written and implemented correctly, can be an important tool that creates jobs and reduces energy imports.

Richard Pombo

Washington

Abortion ban isn't respectful of life

South Dakota has passed a law that would make it a crime for a doctor to perform an abortion except when necessary to save a woman's life ("S. Dakota assembly outlaws abortion," Feb. 25).

The law makes no exceptions for rape or incest.

Now think about this: Under the new law, if a young girl in South Dakota is raped by her drunken uncle and becomes pregnant as a result, she will be forced to carry that pregnancy to term.

Furthermore, the rapist could have the same parental rights as the mother.

And they call this "pro-life"?

Mary Shaw

Norristown, Pa.

S. Dakota defies court's authority

In 1957, Dwight Eisenhower, a Republican president, ordered federal troops to Little Rock, Ark., to enforce the 1954 school desegregation order of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Today, nearly 50 years later, a Republican governor is poised to sign legislation in South Dakota in absolute defiance of the "settled law" established by the same constitutional authority in its Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 ("S. Dakota assembly outlaws abortion," Feb. 25).

Somehow, I don't expect federal troops to start rolling into Pierre, S.D., anytime soon.

I know I was paying attention in ninth-grade civics class.

But apparently not everyone paid attention.

Hugh Silcox

Baltimore

What of gun rights for former felons?

So the professors and scientists want the civil rights of felons restored. How generous ("Restore voting rights of ex-felons," letters, Feb. 25).

They argue for the restoration of voting rights, but what of the rest of their civil rights? How about the Second Amendment rights of former felons?

Do these defenders of the downtrodden also proclaim that prior felons should have restored their right to own and bear arms?

Dennis Hannick

King George, Va.

Not eager to offer son to the military

After reading Brooks Tucker's column "Encourage young people to serve their country" (Opinion * Commentary, Feb. 22), I felt an opposing viewpoint was warranted.

I became an adult while the Vietnam War was being waged, and remember with great clarity the tragedies that encompassed this futile conflict - one in which our commander in chief and vice president deftly avoided serving.

And although I have the utmost respect for those who serve admirably in our armed forces, I am not personally prepared to encourage my 16-year-old son to join this current effort.

One would think that given President Bush's deep commitment to this war effort, he would have some success in persuading his daughters to join this noble cause.

Until I see pictures of these two driving fuel trucks in Iraq, I'll continue to encourage my son to stay in school and apply himself to serious studies.

I feel he can serve his country best by understanding the world, gaining a grasp on international studies and relating well to those from other cultures - an area where our president has failed miserably.

Kenneth Packard

Bel Air

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