While we were distracted …

Bait and switch … To an extent, many energy activists feel like they’ve been distracted with a shiny object (the “Energy Independence Security Act”) while dirty dealing has been going on behind our backs.

The Energy Bill has seen (weak) renewable electricity standards (RES) stripped from it, the removal of an end to over $10  billion in extra tax subsidies for the largest five oil companies, elimination of funding for most renewable energy and energy efficiency programs, … After this impolite stripping, a weak-kneed increase in Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, a rather terrifying bio-fuels program, and many other elements to satisfy Mr 26%.

The Omnibus bill looks as if it will have $40 billion for ‘traditional energy’ and $10 billion for renewable energy and energy efficiency. With the challenges the globe faces, is this the appropriate balance? 

And, the Farm Bill passed out of the Senate Friday continues a trifecta of bad moves when it comes to energy.  Now, to be clear, the Farm Bill looks like it will have some positive elements when it comes to clean farm energy (even though, again, far too much attention to biofuels and not nearly enough on helping farms become more energy efficient (and use renewable energy, such as solar hot water for dairy farmers hot water requirements) and helping farmers exploit a new crop: wind).  On the other hand, can anyone explain with a straight face why the Farm Bill tax title should include $330 million of fossil fuel tax credits for coal-to-liquids, compressed natural gas and other non-biomass fuels used in cars and trucks. That credit has virtually nothing to do with agriculture!

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