House, Senate Pass Equally Awful Energy Bills

The House and Senate head into recess having produced equally awful, yet complimentary energy bills. Like Tetris pieces, their respective energy packages fit one another perfectly, and together form what is perhaps the worst energy bill ever.

In June, the Senate passed an anti-energy package that included: A fivefold increase in biofuel production quotas that would raise the price of groceries and gasoline, a precipitous increase in CAFE standards that would make America’s roads more dangerous, and an anti-fuel price gouging measure that would raise the price of gasoline in times of emergency.

Conspicuously absent from the Senate’s energy package were any provisions to expand energy production, which makes this the first-ever energy bill that doesn’t concern itself with the supply of energy. The Senate’s only saving grace was its members’ rejection of two especially egregious amendments: A tax increase for conventional energy production that would have made gasoline and natural gas more expensive and a federal renewable energy standard (RPS) for electric utilities that would make energy more expensive across the Southeast.

These small victories in the Senate were rendered moot by the House last week, when it passed an energy package that included both provisions. The House didn’t consider any other measure taken up by the upper chamber, like biofuel or CAFE mandates. Instead, its bill appropriates taxpayer money for “green” vocational training and proscribes the cultivation of energy on federal lands. The only theme common to both bills is an antipathy for energy production.

It is anyone’s guess what kind of energy Frankenstein Congress will patch together in Conference after it reconvenes this September. Given the building blocks at hand, however, we can be sure that the final legislation will be a monstrosity.