Monday, July 25, 2005

"Dreadful" energy bill before congress

GW Bush has been pushing an abysmal National Energy Policy for awhile. Now before congress is a bill meant to be their answer to his proposed policy.

Don't Blame Dems For Dreadful Energy Bill (by David Morris, July 25, 2005, RenewableEnergyAccess.com)

The House version appears to be HR 1640, "Energy Policy Act of 2005" but there's also a Senate version which I can't find.

In any case, I'm not surprised they (Congress) has made a bad bill. They are all bought and controlled by the big money interests who've been crying for years that making any real move to renewable energy would damage business.

How bad is it? The most effective provision in either energy bill may be a small program to promote a technology that cuts off heavy-duty truck engines after 15 minutes of idling.

... One such provision, for example, allows the federal government to impose high voltage transmission lines on recalcitrant states. Another severely limits the authority of state and cities over the siting of liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals. Provisions stripping states and communities of their authority over private energy companies are accompanied by another that would have the same debilitating effect on federal authority. Both bills repeal the 70-year-old Public Utilities Holding Company Act (PUHCA). PUHCA was passed to clean up the mess created by massive utility mergers in the 1920s and the resulting wave of fraud and financial manipulations that helped to bring about the Great Depression.

PUHCA forced utilities to refocus their corporate structure on their core obligation -- the delivery of low cost, reliable electricity. And it endowed the newly created Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) with the power and responsibility to examine the utilities' books and evaluate any merger proposals.

But, here's a positive development around this: Lawmakers Abandon MTBE Liability Shield to Help Clear Way for Passing Energy Bill (July 25, 2005 — By H. Josef Hebert, Associated Press, published on ENN.COM)

The article discusses a deal to close the problem over MTBE. The House wanted to put a liability limit on the MTBE producers, but there's evidence those companies knew about MTBE's dangers. Just like the cigarette companies, eh? That is, the cigarette makers knew for decades that smoking causes cancer, but they hid that evidence, killing millions of people, before the news was unveiled. So to with MTBE apparently.


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