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GOP to Dems: Solve energy crisis by next week

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Next up in the Republican “blame the Dems for flawed energy policy” spin machine (drum roll, please) — H.R. 6566, the American Energy Act, which the House Republican Conference Web site says is all about “Reducing the Price at the Pump through an ‘All of the Above’ Energy Strategy.”

On Wednesday, 84 members of the Republican caucus gathered to support a packaged solution to the nation’s energy woes drafted by prime sponsor House minority leader Rep. John Boehner. And they demanded that Democrats allow an up-or-down vote on the bill before the August recess begins.

Howzat for Republican provision of careful, thoughtful deliberation on perhaps the most vexing issue the nation faces (a few wars notwithstanding)?

The GOP used this bill to drag in all its earlier measures that have gone nowhere.

• from H.R. 6108: a demand to “open deep water ocean resources, which will provide an additional three million barrels of oil per day, as well as 76 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.”
H.R. 6107: a proposal to “open the Arctic coastal plain, which will provide an additional one million barrels of oil per day.”
H.R. 6138: a proposal to “allow development of our nation’s shale oil resources, which could provide an additional 2.5 million barrels of oil per day.”
H.R. 6139: a proposal to “increase the supply of gas at the pump by cutting bureaucratic red tape that essentially blocks construction of new refineries.”
H.R. 1618, H.R. 765 and H.R. 778: proposals to “provide tax incentives for businesses and homeowners who improve their energy efficiency.”
H.R. 6384: a proposal to “provide a monetary prize for developing the first economically feasible, super-fuel-efficient vehicle reaching 100 miles-per-gallon (sic).”
H.R. 765: a proposal to “provide tax incentives for businesses and families that purchase more fuel efficient vehicles.”

And there’s more. The bill, again from earlier measures, seeks development of alternative fuels through government contracting, establishment of a renewable energy trust fund using revenues generated by oceanic and Arctic exploration, extension of tax credits for alternative energy production, and (drum roll for the biggie here) elimination of barriers to the expansion of emission-free nuclear power production.

The Republicans want all that? By the beginning of August recess? And an up-or-down vote (I hate that phrase) without full and comprehensive hearings?

And the GOP is selling this with flawed PR. The Republican Conference Web site’s energy section dedicated to this bill contains several deceptive charts, such as this one:

This is the same basic chart sent to me last month by my congressman in a franked mailing labeled “Energy Report.” Many Republican members of Congress used it, too. But it’s inelegant, inaccurate and laced with hidden assumptions, which I detailed earlier. My congressman used this data to tout the GOP’s “The No More Excuses Energy Act,” H.R. 3089 — another bill that went nowhere.

Now here’s my favorite chart offered by the GOP. Over the chart is this copy: “Gas Price Increase during the Democrat Congress: A 74% Price Increase since January 1, 2007.”

This is absurd. The size of the blue color (Republicans) implies that the GOP has kept gasoline prices low while it held power in the House. The black (there’s that fear factor again) shows that gasoline prices shot up when the Dems took power after the mid-term elections. Yet this chart is limited to price increases since 2001, implying that no other GOP-induced factors or actions from before that time had any impact whatsoever on energy costs. That’s a preposterous and simplistic analysis designed solely to blame Democrats rather than reveal true understanding of a complex issue.

The GOP conference Web site also displays a chart that uses a vibrant red color to tell Americans what’s off limits to oil exploration and recovery. Howzat for thoughtful consideration of an issue?

The decision to drill in offshore waters or parts of the Arctic is environmentally and economically complicated (and not just in ANWR; geologists just reported that three years’ worth of world supply rests under the Arctic). Yet the GOP demands that the issue be resolved in the next week.

It’s an election year. The GOP is driving the “pain at the pump” theme hard to win votes. But the nation’s energy problems require far more than bipartisan bickering about which energy bills are best for what purpose. The Democrats are not without fault here, either. That’s another topic for another time.

xpost: Scholars & Rogues

Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

July 24, 2008 at 4:19 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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