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3040Re: [hreg] U.S. Energy Policy

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  • Roxanne Boyer
    May 3, 2005
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      The energy bill is dragging on because it has too much stuff in it.  It needs to be broken into parts, but that's not the way our system works.  I was told in High School Government class that the law making process was intentionally made slow and inefficient to prevent radical change - I see that.  Some of the major parts of the Bill that are in the limelight are:
      1)  Energy Production Tax Incentives - This means if you drill and produce oil on your land, you get a tax incentive - sort of like an agricultural incentive for farmers.  This is supposed to improves the economics for "marginal" wells - wells that may produce only a couple of barrels per day at a cost of ~$25/barrel.  It will put money into the hands of several mineral rights holding companies and domestic drilling companies, rather than into the hands of foreigners.  In my opinion, this part of the bill wastes our money trying to maintain a dying system.  It would be better to tax foreign oil and invest the money in the development of a new, sustainable energy infrastructure 
      2)  Renewable Fuels Subsidy - This part will pay some money for putting ethanol or biodiesel into fuels.  It is supposed to help Midwest corn farmers increase their market.  It may do some good in getting the biofuels infrastructure in place so that costs will drop and eventually the program will not need subsidizing.
      3)  Clean Coal Technology -  The US has more coal energy than it has oil or natural gas.  We could shift more of our energy usage to coal.  Coal is dirty and very polluting.  Technology exists that can clean up the coal exhaust, however, it is not economical.  So, like the renewable fuels subsidy, this part will also subsidize power produced from "clean" coal.  What this bill also does is allows polluting plants to continue to be built and operated.  Mercury from coal power plants has contaminated most Texas rivers and the gulf coast so that it is a health hazard to eat fish from the area.  The bill is a start, however, we need to stop polluting!
      4)  MTBE Producers Protection - The government mandated that MTBE be put into fuel (Clean Air Act).  Now it has been determined that MTBE can mix with groundwater and it tastes bad (no bad health effects have been discovered).  Lawyers want to get rich suing MTBE manufacturers - a repeat of the asbestos cases.  Companies that produced MTBE want protection from such lawyers.  In my opinion, the companies only did what the government told them to do; no one will get a dime except the lawyers; and it will only hurt American companies, resulting in job layoffs.  Companies who manufactured MTBE (which is just about every American oil and chemical company) should not be penalized for it.   Even more, MTBE did do a great deal to clean up our air and we will have to find something to replace it.
      5)  Permission to drill in national wilderness preserves - Oil has been found in some federal lands that prohibit drilling.  Why have preserves if we aren't going to preserve them?
      What the bill does not contain is a long term energy plan.  It is a short-term hold-out, sort of like taking out one loan to pay another.  We do need energy solutions.  I think individuals, communities and companies will find them long before the government can do anything about it.  HREG is a start.

      jsbalkite <jsbalkite@...> wrote:
      Hi, I'm James - new to the group. I work for United Space Alliance
      (NASA contractor) and I promote Green Mountain Energy (pollution-free
      residential/commercial energy) on the side. If you're interested in
      learning more I'd be more than happy to assist. Disclaimer - I get a
      commission for people that switch (free for you) to our pollution-
      free, renewable energy.

      I'm writing because I'm really disapointed with the President's
      energy policy. I'm even more depressed about the bill that passed the
      House which made Bush look like a tree-hugger.

      To get to my point, I'm looking for any good, factual (non-editorial)
      analyses of the proposed policies. I need to write an economic impact
      paper for this macroeconomic class and my professor is quite the free-
      market conservative who doesn't really care for environmentalists. So
      I need numbers.

      By the way, where's the outrage on this board regarding these
      policies catering to the status-quo, non-renewable energy production
      and practically ignoring conservation and our crack-like addiction to
      [foreign] oil?

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