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This one’s wafer-thin, but still may not fly July 28, 2010

Posted by WillardWhyte in Economy, Energy, Environment, Greed, Politics.
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Having abandoned a controversial cap-and-trade attack on the causes of global warming, the Democratic leadership in Congress is now pushing a pretty vanilla bill on energy, oil spills and a dash of help for a struggling economic recovery.

Already, the Armies of Idiocy are gathering up their arms to mount another “Did not!” “Did too!” debate I’m sure CNN will cycle all day.

The bill would do this (with all paid for with a slight increase in an existing tax on the oil industry):

  • Provide $5 billion in rebates for energy efficiency retrofits in homes. Now this is a good idea because it will help reduce the amount of electricity, or fuel oil, or natural gas or propane we use to stay warm or keep cool. It also will help small companies that caulk windows and doors, sell replacement windows/doors/heaters/insulation and those who make all that stuff. Gadzooks! Those little companies might even need to put some extra people on the payroll to do some of that work.
  • Spend $3.8 billion to encourage the use of natural gas trucks. This would help an already growing industry and further reduce gas and diesel consumption.
  • Provide $400 million to study electric cars. That one’s a little puzzling, but I’ll try to dig a bit and update if I can.
  • Remove the nation’s current $75 million liability cap on offshore oil companies responsible for spilling crude — applied retroactively to BP and others, making them pay the full cost of a spill. No-brainer.

But already, the Voices of Nyet have spit the pacifiers and are whining loudly, led by the American Petroleum Institute, looking out as it always does for the small and medium-size drilling firms who couldn’t afford to insure themselves against catastrophes and would not be able to compete in the U.S., leaving the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean continental shelf to just global behemoths like BP, Shell, Exxon-Mobil, et al.

“This would cut domestic production, kill American jobs, slow economic growth and cost billions in federal oil and natural gas revenues,” Jack Gerard, president of the American Petroleum Institute, said in a statement.

It wouldn’t cut domestic production, because all these guys, big or small, offload that catastrophic risk  on insurance, which is then hedged 20 ways to Sunday on Wall Street. Big Oil just doesn’t want to have to trim their hundred-billion-dollar quarterly profit by the hair needed to build that cost into the equation.

It wouldn’t kill American jobs either. Whoever qualifies to punch the holes in the Gulf or the Atlantic shelf is going to have to come over here and do it here. The people they will hire will be the same folks any company would hire — the ones closest to the rig. And those people would be Americans. We’re not idiots out here, Mr. Gerard.

And it would not cut oil and gas drilling/recovery revenues either, because whatever company agrees to carry 100% liability for a Gulf Gusher disaster — be it U.S., British, French, Dutch or Arabian — is going to have to pay the same amount for the rights to go after the Joy Juice.

So this whole bill seems a little dainty to me — dodges the whole global warming issue entirely — but seems like one that should not get anyone’s panties in a bunch. Pays for itself too.

Now some Republicans — and Dems too — think maybe the bill doesn’t do enough, and is being rushed. They want to get a bill out there, let it simmer until Congress returns from its August heat-stroke-avoidance recess and reconvenes in August. That sounds reasonable, and the reasons cited by, say, Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas make some solid sense.

Let’s see if the GOP leadership lets a reasoned debate go forward — and if the Moonbats on the other cliff opt for an incremental step — in the name of progress.

I hope so.

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