The U.S. Senate has passed the new energy bill, which now goes back to the House for final approval before going to the president for his signature. But, as they say, there’s no free lunch.
While the legislation includes the landmark increase in fuel-economy standards for vehicles and a huge boost for alternative fuels, legislators caved in to oil and utility companies and stripped the legislation of a $13 billion dollar tax increase on those industries.
But that isn’t all, the bill also removed a requirement that utilities nationwide produce 15 percent of their electricity from renewable sources. Another example of the incredible clout of oil and utility company lobbyists in the nation’s capital.
The full legislation easily passed the House of Representatives last week, and that’s when the industry boys focused on Republican members of the Senate and the White House. President Bush has repeatedly threatened to veto the bill if the offending sections were not removed.
The new fuel economy standards will take effect in 2011, gradually rising to the establishment of a 35 mpg fleet average by 2020.
Is half a loaf better than none? The Edison Electric Institute, National Association of Manufacturers, the Chamber of Commerce and other groups representing the mining, petrochemical, paper and refining industries think so, they all lobbied to scrap the tax increase.
The oil industry claimed the new taxes would impose burdens on the industry when it needed all its resources to find and develop new sources of energy. The bill’s requirement that 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels be blended into gasoline was too specific on what kinds of fuels must be produced, be it from corn, plant fibers or animal fats.
So I guess that’s what we get, and it only points out again the old saying, “Them what has, gets”. Our lawmakers again capitulated to Senate Republicans and the White House. It’s all about money, folks, and money is power and President Bush has again made it very clear he likes the money people enough to scuttle nearly every legislation or agreement that would help this country clean up it’s environment.
Matter of fact, it appears we’re doing that right now in Bali.
For Shame, Mr. President.
Source: NY Times