Category Archives: government energy policy

Drillusion

At times, we might forget that there are a good number of very bright, extremely dedicated, and fundamental people working in Congress. Elected officials and staff. Our funding system that seems to drive member after member to be begging, tin in cup, for funds can make the entire process look open to purchase.  The traditional media mania for ever lower quality reporting magnifies this, making foolish shallowness the norm.  Reality is far from this and it is worthwhile at times to take a moment to consider that reality. 

An e-mail came into me today that reminded me of this, a letter with perhaps the best single word I’ve seen to summarize Republican truthiness when it comes to energy issues but a letter with substance.

Drillusion

Thank you  Representative Earl Blumenauer. 

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What fraction of America’s $4+ gallon gasoline is due to the war in Iraq?

Earlier today, someone asserted that well over half (or more than $2) of America’s $4.10 gallon of gas is due to the war. Another person asked “Is that right?” And, after pulling out some hair from my head, my response was both short and then long.

The short:

Two dollars a gallon is, perhaps, as good a swag as anyone’s.

I think.

And, the long:

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CtB vs CtO and greening taxi fleets

A brief discussion about the economic imperatives for greening the nation’s taxi fleets. But, first, acronym definition:

  • CtB:  Cost to Buy: acquisition price, how much to purchase something
  • CtO: Cost to Own: total ownership costs, from purchase through operating to disposal

Quite simply, moving our collective mindset from CtB to CtO is a societal imperative.

But, to question of greening taxi fleets:  When it comes to these issues, while the CtB is slightly higher, the CtO figures are overwhelming for moving taxi fleets (rapidly) toward hybrids or other high-fuel efficiency vehicles.  This is something that should be happening nearly everywhere in the country. Now!!!!

Yet, obstacles exist …

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Secretary of Energy Richard Cheney?

When asked about the potential for finding a position for Dick Cheney in a McCain Administration, John McCain has a expressly straight talking response: “Hell Yeah!

Asked whether he’d be interested in Cheney had the vice president not already have served under Bush for two terms, McCain said: “I don’t know if I would want him as vice president. He and I have the same strengths. But to serve in other capacities? Hell, yeah.”

John McCain seems intent on running away from George W. Bush, even as John McCain has voted consistently for Bush policies and so many of his policy concept seem to be close to cookie cutter with Bush-Cheney plans. Earlier this month, John MCain seemed to be striving to distance from Dick Cheney, attacking the Dick Cheney’s energy plan.

But … hold on a second here. John McCain’s energy policy concepts are beginning to look suspiciously close to those that have emerged from various Cheney-Bush Administration task forces. Are we looking toward John McCain asking Dick Cheney his Secretary of Energy?

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Follow the money …

Recall Deep Throat (All the President’s Men), that basic piece of advice: “Follow the Money.” As we listen to the George W. Bush’s, John McCain’s, the Republican Party’s, and the RWSM’s response to what George W. Bush described as America’s “addiction to oil”, remember those words.

In face of addiction, is the Republican Party fighting to get us (the US) to a treatment center? Struggling to help us (the US) get off the addiction? Preparing us (the US) for going cold turkey? No, they are struggling for ways to feed the addiction and keep us hooked. Hooked, that is, as the problem worsens even more such that the inevitable crash truly will be a crash and burn of our nation.

John McCain went to Houston Oilers’ territory for his first major energy speech. Totally apropos, because the best he could come up with was to argue for putting drills everywhere one can imagine. Never mind that those wells would have, at best, a marginal impact (perhaps less than 5 cents per gallon) on gasoline prices years (if not decades) into the future (opening ANWR would have less than a 2 cents/gallon impact in 2025). Never mind that the resources are, generously speaking, limited. Never mind that there are efficiency measures that could lead to the equivalent of shaving 50 cents or more gallon. Efficiency measures that all of us (all of the US) could put into action immediately. Never mind because helping us (the US) really doesn’t seem to be behind this mindless, truthiness laden, and often simply false rhetoric.

No, why not follow the money?


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Greening the SchoolHouse

Last month, to far (FAR) less attention than it merited, the House of Representatives (facing an Administration veto threat) passed the 21st Century Green High-Performing Public School Facilities Act with $20 billion for greening public schools across the nation.

Taking aggressive action to green schools is about one of the smartest steps the nation can take, action that should go beyond bipartisanship to true unity of action as it is a win-win-win-win strategy along so many paths:

  • Save money for communities and taxpayers
  • Create employment
  • Foster capacity for ‘greening’ the nation
  • Reduce pollution loads
  • Improve health
  • Improve student performance / achievement
  • And, well, other benefits. In the face of these benefits, “The White House threatened a veto, saying it was wrong for the federal government to launch a costly new school-building program.”
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    House leadership to Fossil Fuel industry: Use it or lose it!

    Tired of the unending truthiness Republican cries to DRILL, DRILL, DRILL in a disingenuous truthiness efforts that turns us (US) aside from discussion of energy efficiency and moving off fossil fuels, House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Nick J. Rahall (D-WV) and others in the House leadership issued an ultimatum to oil companies: Drill on the leases you have or lose the leases!

    “Big Oil, as many Americans already suspect, are perfectly fine with high gasoline prices at the pump while they hold back domestic production on federal leases and enjoy world record profits. I am calling them on the carpet. I am calling their bluff. We are not going to continue to allow them to speculate and profiteer with public resources to the detriment of the American people.”

    It turns out that massive amounts of leased land, leased for natural gas and oil exploration, are lying fallow. Lying fallow with the potential to double US oil production. In the face of this, Republicans (and Republican stooges like George Will) scream about drilling in national parks and in sensitive off-shore areas.

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    Send colleagues to Energy Smart Austin

     

    Austin, Texas, is a leader in the United States on paths toward a more energy smart future.  MSN called it the “Greenest City in America.”  IT has smart growth policies, has a focus on plug-in vehicles, wind power, and … well, many things.  

    Yearly Kos 1 was in a center of conspicious consumption: Las Vegas. YK2 in a leading city when it comes to green roofs which had the Cool GlobesCool Globes up when we were there.  Netroots Nation is going to an even greener pasture.  And you can send a friend there through the DFA Scholarship for Netroots Nation.

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    “A path that can unite America …”

    Plug-in-Hybrid-Electric-Vehicles (PHEVs) offer “a path that can unite America,” according to David Sandalow, in his opening talk today to the Google/Brookings Institution two-day conference Plug-In Electric Vehicles 2008: What Role for Washington?

    Oil prices are at record highs. The overwhelming dependence of our cars and trucks on oil strains family budgets, threatens our national security and contributes to global warming. Plug-in electric vehicles have the potential to significantly reduce the United States’ dependence on oil. Yet can this potential be realized? If so, how? Is there a national interest in putting millions of plug-in vehicles on the road soon? How should policymakers in Washington, D.C., respond?

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    $4 Gallon Gasoline: Who would’ve thunk it?

    It was just back in February when an intrepid reporter, Peter Maer of CBS Radio, asked George W. Bush about the potential for $4/gallon gasoline.  Response, near blank stare with seeming confusion.   Continue reading