US Energy Bill

No gain, much pain
When energy bill comes due, we’re going to pay

V.B. Price, Tribune
Sen. Jeff Bingaman, a co-sponsor of the national energy bill President Bush signed this week in Albuquerque, was probably right when he said the legislation was the best a bitterly partisan Congress could squeeze out of itself right now. And what a disappointment it is.

In troubled times, when an oil crisis looms and when friends can’t differ with each other about politics without getting hysterical, the nation’s economy has become a sitting duck for any natural or malicious disruption of the flow of oil.

A sad irony of this week’s signing ceremonies is that it was accompanied on the news by photographs of Sandia National Laboratories’ impressive solar energy devices.

But when it comes to tax breaks and other incentives, renewable energy, like solar power, gets a miserly $411 million, while uranium, petroleum and coal get $8.5 billion in tax breaks and billions more in loan guarantees in the energy bill. …

The Bush energy bill is a thinly disguised attempt to squeeze every last dime out of the oil industry before all the oil is gone. It does this by promoting oil consumption in a time of growing scarcity, without adequately preparing for the energy transition ahead.

This is supply-side economics at its most idiotic. By giving massive incentives to overproduce a dwindling supply of oil, the Bush energy bill not only stimulates an ever-more-rapid depletion of that resource, it also leaves almost no money and no incentives for developing the energy sources that will have to replace oil when it runs out. Supply-side oil waste will destroy the multitude of companies that manufacture oil-based products. There goes plastic, for one.

No wonder the names of those who made up Dick Cheney’s energy task force that helped dream up this negligent scheme have been kept so secret.
(13 August 2005)

Energy Law Speeds Up Nuclear Proliferation, Stifles Competition from Renewable Energy, and Threatens National Security

Press release, Cleanpeace via Prweb
Energy bill signed into law this week speeds up nuclear proliferation, increases dangers from nuclear wastes and dirty bomb makers, assures continued dependence on Middle East oil dictators and threatens U.S. naitonal and Homeland security
(PRWEB) August 9, 2005 — “Dangers from nuclear proliferation extend far beyond missiles and warheads. Cheap dirty bombs can be made with little more than a private aircraft or a helium filled balloon and radioactive wastes from nuclear power plants.

Radioactive dirty bombs can disable entire cities transforming them into Chernobyl-like ghost towns for centuries and rendering their suburbs into toxic wastelands.” said author, engineer and scientist, Roy McAlister, Co-President of and a world authority on energy.
(9 August 2005)
UPDATED 12 September:
According to Cleanpeace president Bill Garrett, Cleanpeace is “a policy advocacy and education organization” dedicated to the “rapid replacement of depletable fossil and radioactive fuels with clean burning, Undepletable Hydrogen (Hydrogen produced from Undepletable Resources).
For more, see About Cleanpeace on their website.

Holes in the Energy Law

Editorial, Boston Globe via Common Dreams
President Bush finally got to sign his $14.5 billion energy bill on Monday, a day when oil prices reached historic new highs of $64 a barrel. Unfortunately, the price spike only brings into focus how little the Bush prescription will actually do to liberate America from its dependence on foreign oil.
(12 August 2005)

In new energy crisis, Bush rewards cronies
America misses opportunity for essential change

Joe Conason, The New York Observer via Common Dreams
To address this situation, in which suffering consumers are coughing up billions to swell the corporate bottom line, Mr. Bush’s “energy bill” gives additional billions in taxpayer subsidies to the oil, gas and nuclear interests.

Clearly the President (and the Vice President) feel that super-profits and the promise of ever-greater super-profits in the market aren’t enough to encourage investment by America’s patriotic energy companies. If our “way of life” is to continue, the Bush cronies must be paid from the federal treasury as well as the gas pump, where the current cost of filling up is no less than $50. They must also be allowed more latitude to pollute air and water, and less regulation of their propensity to gouge and manipulate the prices of gas and electricity.
(10 August 2005)

Energy bill roils port policy

Laura Mecoy, Sacramento Bee
Law limits state’s ability to restrict sites for imports of natural gas.
LONG BEACH – Elisa Trujillo was counting on the state to help stop an energy project she considers dangerous to her and her family.

But President Bush’s signature Monday on the nation’s new energy bill dashed most of her hopes for beating back the liquefied natural gas import terminal proposed for the nearby port.
(10 August 2005)

Energy Vacation
(animated cartoon)
Mark Fiore, WorkingforChange
Comment on the recent energy bill.
(11 August 2005)

Muckraker: A broken Reid
Passage of energy bill highlights lack of united Democratic opposition

Umbra Fisk, Grist Magazine via WorkingForChange
Four years, two failed conference attempts, and one filibuster after the Republican leadership first introduced the Bush-backed energy bill into Congress, the controversial legislation is being signed into law today by the president, yielding a major victory for the White House — and exposing Democrats’ continued inability to rally around a unified vision and stay on message.
(11 August 2005)

The Energy Bill’s Gift to Terrorists

Alan J. Kuperman, NY Times (Op-ed)
AN obscure provision of the energy bill signed into law this week by President George W. Bush demonstrates how, even in this era of heightened concern about terrorism, narrow commercial considerations can trump national security at the behest of one senator.

Despite widespread opposition – from the Bush administration, a majority of the Senate, leaders of the House Energy Committee, and nuclear regulators from the five preceding presidential administrations – Senator Pete Domenici, Republican of New Mexico and chairman of the Energy Committee, included an amendment that guts restrictions on the export of highly enriched uranium, the same material used in the Hiroshima atomic bomb.

If terrorists obtained enough such uranium they could fashion a full-fledged nuclear weapon, not merely a “dirty bomb” that would scatter radioactive waste.
(11 August 2005)

US Roads Bill

Bush: Huge highway bill will create jobs
Legislation loaded with money for special projects

Associated Press via CNN
MONTGOMERY, Illinois (AP) — President Bush signed Wednesday a whopping $286.4 billion transportation bill, touting it as bringing the nation’s transportation network “into the 21st century.”

The more than 1,000-page highway bill is more costly than he preferred and includes cash to bankroll some 6,000 pet projects for lawmakers in their home districts.
(10 August 2005)

Road Bill Reflects the Power of Pork

Jonathan Weisman and Jim VandeHei, Washington Post
Three years ago, President Bush went to war against congressional pork. His official 2003 budget even featured a color photo of a wind-powered ice sled — an example of the pet projects and alleged boondoggles he said he would no longer tolerate. Yesterday, Bush effectively signed a cease-fire — critics called it more like a surrender — in his war on pork. He signed into law a $286 billion transportation measure that contains a record 6,371 pet projects inserted by members of Congress from both parties.
(11 August 2005)