Archive for the ‘Alternate Energy’ Category

What if there were a vote to decide whether to give 13.5 billion in tax breaks for oil companies or if those tax breaks should go to alternate energy like solar and wind. You may have guessed by now there was such a vote. But you may not know the results or the implications. To bring it to the floor for the full Senate to vote on it needed 60 votes then the 13.5 billion in tax breaks to big oil companies could have been repealed and instead used to fund alternative energy programs. We fell exactly 1 vote short of reaching the 60 required votes. That 1 vote could have been been ours if only one candidate for president had voted the way he claims his platform is built upon. I see the political ads with him standing there looking all presidential. Standing there with wind plants in the background. He must have been standing there when the vote was taken in December cause he sure didn’t show up to vote. Our offending Senator? Senator John McCain. Don’t believe me. Go to the Senates page and look up the roll call vote and see who voted and in what way. So much for being a maverick and not following the Republicans big oil ties.

We are in the middle of an economic crisis brought on by our dependence upon foreign oil imports that are running the prices of necessary commodities up to astronomical prices. The dependence on foreign oil is the biggest threat we as a country face today. Prices of food and any product that relies upon transportation to your stores is going up in price. Way up and hurting America as it does. Plus the money we spend on foreign oil helps feed the coffers of terrorists. It is insane to send money to people who hate us and are dedicated to destroying us and driving us out of the region.

Currently we produce 8 million barrels of oil per day here in the United States but consume 20 million barrels a day. That is sending about 45 billion dollars a month out of our country. The CBO [Congressional Budget Office] estimates the cost of the Iraq war at about 9 billion dollars a month, a staggering amount of money but that is only about 20% of what we spend on foreign oil.

In the short term we can all start driving less. Consolidate activities into one trip whenever possible. We may need to limit highway speeds again like we did in the 70′s. We should already require that all vehicles sold in the U.S. either be flex fuel – running on gas or alcohol – or be hybrid or electric. Brazil has already done it and now only imports about 20% of its fuel requirements, growing the rest as sugar cane. And while we are talking about Brazil we need to eliminate the 54 cents per gallon tariff on sugar cane ethanol imported from Brazil.

In the long term we need to build non petroleum cars and trucks, expand our oil drilling into possible offshore wells. It is being done safely already, we need to at least look into it. Right now I am still against drilling in the ANWR [Arctic National Wildlife Refuge] as I feel that right now they will not protect sensitive species that depend upon it for their survival. Also with more studies and new technologies we may have the ability to protect wildlife species in the future when oil will be at even more of a premium than it is now. Besides there is nothing like having an ace to hold in the hole. We need to give incentives to companies and individuals to invest in green technologies. Hybrids, electric, hydrogen, clean liquid coal and a myriad of technologies that we may have not even thought of yet. The sky is the limit if we break the foreign oil dependency that has a strangle hold on us right now.

??? You remember that last week the Congress once again passed an energy bill giving tax incentives for wind, solar and other renewable fuels. Well right on cue the big oil lackeys in the Senate are howling bloody murder over the loss of tax incentives to the big oil companies. Last year they passed a almost identical bill that was threatened by veto and the Senate caved right in. Of course it doesn’t take much caving in when big oil has donated so much to some Senators. Plus we have their [big oil] best buddy in the White House. It’s not like he really cares about what is good for the country or its citizens. I knew right away how deeply he felt for the citizens in the country when he was so fast in getting to the gulf coast after Katrina. It’s not like he didn’t fly over it after he finished his vacation at the ranch. Probably even had the pilot tip the wingtip over a little in Air Force One so he could see the destruction a little better.

??? Anyhow about the energy bill. It is funded the same way – pay as you go – and that payment is the dropping of 17 billion dollars in tax credits for big oil. New investments in clean, non-fossil-fuel energy sources – need help until they become competitive with older, dirtier energy sources. It’s not like the oil companies need these tax breaks. They are rolling in money, posting the largest corporate earnings ever. The five biggest producers only made 145 billion in profits last year. If those arguments are not enough, we offer the Senate some words from the decider himself [President Bush]. In a 2005 address to the American Society of Newspaper Editors, Mr. Bush spoke forcefully of the need for an energy strategy that looked to the long term and emphasized conservation and renewable fuels. Of the oil and gas industry, he said pointedly: ?I will tell you with $55 oil we don?t need incentives to the oil and gas companies to explore. There are plenty of incentives. What we need is to put a strategy in place that will help this country over time become less dependent.? Even the most dim witted Senator should be able to see that a country that uses 20% of the worlds oil but only has 3% of its reserves can not drill its way to energy independence.

My question would be – If that was true at $55 a barrel, why is not it even more valid and urgent at $100 a barrel?

??? With the price of oil above $100 a barrel, Congress is again taking action to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and support the domestic production of renewable energy. The House of Representatives passed legislation this week that would repeal some $18 billion in tax breaks for big energy companies. “The American taxpayer should not be subsidizing oil and gas companies during times of record profits and record prices at the pump,” Rep. Charles Rangel, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said last week when he introduced the energy tax package.

??? The legislation includes tax credits to promote renewable energy production. Renewable sources such as solar, wind, geothermal, ethanol, and biofuels will be promoted by these tax credits. The legislation would also give consumers a $4,000 tax credit for buying plug-in hybrid vehicles, extend the tax credits for installing certain energy-efficient appliances and increases tax breaks for gas stations that install pumps for dispensing alternative fuels.

You may remember that I wrote on a very similar bill introduced and passed by the House of Representatives that met strong opposition from the Senate. Perhaps there are more Senators on the “Big Oil” payroll than in the House. The House once again has the right idea, that is best for the country, but look for the Senate to fight it tooth and nail. And even if it does pass the Senate it may be met by a Presidential veto as the White House stance was opposed to it before so I doubt he has changed his mind and decided to do what is best for the country instead of what is best for him and his “friends” in the oil industry.