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New House bill combines drilling with tax extensions for renewables

Kate Sheppard, Gristmill
Where there’s a drill, there’s a way

A bipartisan group of House members has unveiled a new compromise energy bill, roughly along the lines of the Gang of 10 bill released in the Senate last week.

“The National Conservation, Environment, and Energy Independence Act” would repeal federal prohibitions on offshore oil and gas production and lift the ban on finalizing regulations for oil-shale development. Some of the proceeds from offshore leasing would be spent on environmental programs: 15 percent on renewable energy, 10 percent on environmental restoration, 8 percent on the Conservation Reserve Program, and 5 percent on R&D for carbon capture and storage and nuclear-waste disposal.

The bill also includes a five-year extension of tax credits for renewable energy and energy efficiency. These tax extensions have passed repeatedly in the House, but they keep getting held up in the Senate where Republicans have blocked energy bills that don’t include more drilling.

The new legislation also calls for 70 million barrels of light crude to be sold from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, with proceeds to be used for a variety of energy projects: $200 million for low-income weatherization and the home energy assistance program, $30 million for smart-grid development, $30 million for solar-energy research, $15 million for wind-energy research, and multi-millions more for a number of other renewable energy and efficiency projects. The real bank goes to carbon capture and storage R&D, which would get $385 million.
(9 August 2008)

Drill, Drill, Drill Is Working

Larry Kudlow, Money News
… Polls suggest that two-thirds to three-quarters of the nation wants to drill. To wit, while a just-released Obama campaign ad attacks McCain as a tool of big oil, McCain has taken his first-ever lead in a Rasmussen tracking poll.

There is a voter revolt going on, and it reminds me of the anti-tax rebellion that lifted Ronald Reagan into office 28 years ago. Is the conventional wisdom about to be swept away? As Republicans press home the drill, drill, drill message, might they pick up seats in Congress this year? And might the national clamor for a more realistic and balanced energy policy – one that includes more oil, natural gas, clean coal, nuclear, and the alternatives of wind, solar and cellulosic – carry John McCain to a convincing victory over Obama?

Without even realizing it, the GOP drilling offensive has become a new contract with America. And it appears to be working. The public is putting aside global warming and choosing instead new-energy production, a stronger economy and more job creation.
(7 August 2008)
The drill-drill-drill strategy may be irrational energy policy, but it may prove to be a persuasive talking point. -BA

Know-Nothing Politics

Paul Krugman, New York Timies
So the G.O.P. has found its issue for the 2008 election. For the next three months the party plans to keep chanting: “Drill here! Drill now! Drill here! Drill now! Four legs good, two legs bad!” O.K., I added that last part.

And the debate on energy policy has helped me find the words for something I’ve been thinking about for a while. Republicans, once hailed as the “party of ideas,” have become the party of stupid.

Now, I don’t mean that G.O.P. politicians are, on average, any dumber than their Democratic counterparts. And I certainly don’t mean to question the often frightening smarts of Republican political operatives.

What I mean, instead, is that know-nothingism – the insistence that there are simple, brute-force, instant-gratification answers to every problem, and that there’s something effeminate and weak about anyone who suggests otherwise – has become the core of Republican policy and political strategy. The party’s de facto slogan has become: “Real men don’t think things through.”

In the case of oil, this takes the form of pretending that more drilling would produce fast relief at the gas pump.
(7 August 2008)

Kuntsler: Drill Drill Drill ! ! ! (or maybe not)

James Howard Kunstler, personal website
Why Larry Kudlow is wrong about this

Every night Larry Kudlow goes on CNBC at 7:00 misinforming the American public about our oil situation. His mantra: “…drill drill drill….” By this he means that American oil companies should be permitted to drill on all the continental shelves offshore, up in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and anywhere else.

I agree ! We should drill drill drill — because once we give the go ahead for this, we will discover the hard way that it will not solve our oil problem. Here is what Matt Simmons wrote to me in an email (He says substantially the same thing in this CNBC “Squawkbox” clip:
(August 2008)

Rising gasoline costs – an animation

Flowing Data
As of July 28, the national average per gallon was $4.01. How did we get to this point? Watch as gas prices rise and fall from 1993 up until now. Press play to begin. Scroll over bars to highlight
(August 2008)
Watch it and weep. Recommended at the Aug 8 DrumBeat at TOD.