Let me luxuriate in the feeling of feeling played, of feeling used. The sullied feeling is just such a joyous thing to have.
Many excoriated me (in multiple venues, private and public) for not being ‘political’ enough since I was not joyously celebrating the Energy Bill that passed from the House and was tarnishing my praise for the political courage and strength of action by pointing to the Energy Bill’s flaws.
And, well, perhaps sadly, I watched my language a little bit and ‘pimped’ support for this bill that might have been ‘strong’ in political terms but was simply inadequate in face of the very real challenges before this nation and the globe (Peak Oil, Global Warming, Etc …)
The Energy Bill has been stripped of even its weakened renewable electricity standards (RES — okay, geeky issue, but extremely important for helping to foster an Energy Smart future). The end of atrocious tax subsidy loopholes for the fossil-fuel base? Also gone. Support for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency? Stripped out since the funding isn’t there any more.
The legislation still contains a landmark increase in fuel-economy standards for vehicles and a huge boost for alternative fuels. But a $13 billion tax increase on oil companies and a requirement that utilities nationwide produce 15 percent of their electricity from renewable sources were left on the floor to secure Republican votes for the package.
The tax measure and the renewable electricity mandate were included in an energy bill that easily passed the House last week. But industry lobbyists focused their attention on Republican members of the Senate and on the White House, which repeatedly threatened to veto the bill if the offending sections were not removed.
And, the Omnibus Bill, while we weren’t watching, is stuffed with funding for “old” energy to the tune of 4-1 against anything for an Energy Smart future.
Separately, Congress reached a tentative agreement on a major energy package that it plans to enact outside the energy bill, according to a Senate Democratic staff member. The agreement, to be included in a broad government spending bill, would authorize the Energy Department to guarantee loans for various energy projects, making financing far easier.
The agreement would guarantee loans of up to $25 billion for new nuclear plants and $2 billion for a uranium enrichment plant, something those industries had been avidly seeking. It would also provide guarantees of up to $10 billion for renewable energy projects, $10 billion for plants to turn coal into liquid vehicle fuel and $2 billion to turn coal into natural gas.
Okay, am I allowed to criticize yet?
Or, am I supposed to be dancing on the streets, patting the Democratic Party leadership on the back for getting a rather weak increase in CAFE standards into the Energy bill and onto the President’s desk?
Excuse me while I need to go scrub myself (exfoliate, one might say) in the shower.