House Democratic Party leaders last week announced a plan to cut back tax breaks and royalty relief for oil and gas exploration and production and to shift these funds to alternative, nonfossil energy sources, including solar, hydropower, geothermal, nuclear, wind, and biofuels. In particular, the plan, which is in draft form, would trim tax breaks for oil and gas exploration and production in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and provisions that benefited oil and gas companies in a 2004 law to aid a wide range of industries. The Democrats also plan to retrieve royalty payments oil companies were allowed to keep, going back to the late 1990s, to encourage deep-water drilling on federal lands in the Gulf of Mexico. Provisions were sketchy as outlined by new House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), but they could generate funds in the $15 billion range. Legislation is expected to be introduced by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) by Jan. 18.