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  1. #1

    Fossilized Fuel Legislation

    just another example of the lack of insightful leadership of the country.

    the "energy bill" is really just a consumption bill. conservation not required!

    see ya


    reprinted from the LA Times, 4-20-05

    April 20, 2005
    Fossilized Fuel Legislation

    There's this much to like about the new energy bill in Congress: Hooters isn't in it. There's no longer a subsidy to build a Hooters in Shreveport, La., something that helped make last year's pork-laden bill a laughingstock.

    In most ways, the bill, due back in the House this week, has changed less over four years than the Rocky Mountains. It deservedly died each congressional session and was resurrected in the next, remarkably well preserved. Its emphasis remains almost entirely on drilling and exploration for oil and gas (much of it in environmentally sensitive areas), and on $8 billion in tax breaks for companies.

    The billion-dollar subsidy for an Idaho nuclear plant is still there. So is the provision to shield producers of the gasoline additive MTBE from environmental-damage lawsuits in California and other states. Drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge; incentives for expanded offshore oil and gas exploration; breaks for polluting coal-burning power plants; and diminished environmental regulation for drilling, paving and pipelines elsewhere? Still there, being pushed just as hard by President Bush.

    The few policy changes are not improvements. Former versions would have done little to encourage alternative sources of energy or to conserve fuel. Now the bill does even less. Gone are tax credits for energy- efficient new homes and commercial buildings. The bill does not extend the tax deduction for hybrid vehicles.

    Despite Bush's arguments for more drilling, the United States doesn't have nearly enough in reserves to drill its way to oil independence, even including wilderness lands.

    By contrast, energy conservation would provide both immediate and long-term improvement, as it did in the 1970s. California has shown the way by requiring energy- efficient appliances and building materials, neither of which has a spot in the federal bill. Fuel economy for vehicles isn't under discussion, though U.S. fuel standards for passenger cars haven't been updated for 20 years.

    The bill is likely to pass in the House and will head to the Senate. Last year, the House-Senate version carried an estimated cost of about $25 billion and would have made no measurable dent in oil dependency. The porky bill sank under its own weight.

    With prices at the gas pump near $3 a gallon, the Senate this year should figure out that the time is ripe for a better-designed energy bill. The public is ready to hear not just about lower gas prices but also real conservation. That doesn't include the House's amendment to extend daylight saving time by two months, so it would last from early March to late November. Unless, of course, you consider more outdoor barbecues an encouragement of alternative fuel sources.

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  3. #2

    Fossilized Fuel Legislation

    Steve, thanks for the post and article, and I agree.

  4. #3

    Fossilized Fuel Legislation

    Folks. I agree that the government is way late and short sided -- however, we consumers have the power. Look at Toyota's first quarter hybrid sales.... Some on Capitol Hill are getting the message.

    Issa of CA is pushing legislation and Engel of NY is working on some new stuff as is Kirk of IL. Things are slow inside the beltway, but fortunately the marketplace doesn't care. Keep driving and promoting hybrids and the lagards will come around.

  5. #4

    Fossilized Fuel Legislation

    From SJ Mercury News Editorial
    (note the House of Reps vs. Bush)

    "The president's proposed budget devotes three-quarters of its $6.7 billion in tax breaks to energy efficiency and renewable energy. The House proposal devotes only one-sixteenth of its $8 billion in tax breaks to these environmentally friendly alternatives.

    In a speech to newspaper editors last week, Bush also said: ``There are plenty of incentives. What we need is to put a strategy in place that will help this country over time become less dependent.''

    Excellent. How about the obvious one of requiring cars and light trucks to get better gas mileage? There's nothing in the House bill about that, and it's not just the fault of those drenched-in-oil Republicans. Democrats allied with the Detroit autoworkers aren't interested, either."

    Saving Detroit? In the biz world this is throwing bad money after good, something investors try not to do, but elected reps always do b/c its not their money.

  6. #5

    Fossilized Fuel Legislation

    recall that even recently USA based car manufacturers *screamed* about how impossible it is (or was) to lift average miles per gallon just a few points.

    ~ then toyota & honda did it.

    letter writing campaign? to all our government rep's? sometimes that helps?

    followed with a paragraph that we should add more tax to gas. just like the tax on smoking & the tax on beer & wine.

    true incentives, but not likely to show up soon in legislation.

    and this is across the board with voted rep's - repub or democrat.

    see ya

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