Energy Bill or Corporate Welfare?
There appears to be a lot of similarity between the Republican-authored Energy Bill in America and Transylvania's legendary vampire, Count Dracula. Both live off the life blood of others and seem nearlimpossible toto kill.
As we point out in the last issue of EV World Update, by the narrowest of margins, the US Senate temporarily stalled passage of the bill that has been characterized as the "Leave-No-Special-Interest-Behind" bill.
It was difficult to find anyone -- other than energy industry lobbyists and pork-barrel-happy Congressmen -- who thought the bill made sense as a national energy policy, including the Wall Street Journal. As currently written, it would hand huge subsidies to the fossil fuel and nuclear power industry, along with the ethanol industry, while essentially absolving MTBE producers from responsibility for contaminating much of the nation's ground water. A provision to authorize oil drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge was eventually dropped.
Political cartoonists had a field day with the topic, depicting industry magnates as greedy power barons who have the government in their hip pockets and are more concerned about company profits than what's good for the nation and our shared environment. That's probably a bit harsh since I suspect most of these people really don't intend to harm anyone, personally. They would argue that the power they produce results in a better world, and to a degree they are right. But all these "good intentions" tend to add up to a lot of serious unintended consequences.
Amy Goodman of DemocracyNow.Org recently talked to Philip Clapp, executive director of the National Environmental Trust and Frank Clemente, director of Public Citizen's Congress Watch on the latest reincarnation and "death" of the energy bill. To listen to the interview, click the Play Audio link at the right. You'll need RealPlayer installed on your computer, available free from Real.Com.
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