This summer has made it quite clear that the US is suffering an energy crisis. Not a great one yet, but definitely a harbinger of things to come. And at least part of the crisis has been caused by historical legislative and administrative action that artificially constrained domestic energy supply or imposed undue regulation discouraging new generation. Meanwhile, judicial and administrative action since Mass v EPA have stored up a significant problem for the future as coal power plants have now become more politically risky than even nuclear plants.
At the same time, we have suffered a financial crisis. At least part of the crisis has been caused by historical legislative and administrative action that empowered two massive entities that presented a moral hazard to the financial industry. Imperfect administrative action to rectify the situation hasn’t helped much.
Congress can no longer ignore the energy crisis. House Democrats have therefore come up with a “compromise” plan that allows a small amount of drilling while continuing further down the path that got us into this mess in the first place. From E&E News:
“What we made people focus on was an understanding that we want to have a responsible drilling program, and in order to do that we have to shape the way we do drilling,” said Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Van Hollen, who cautioned that the bill remains under discussion, also said the measure would “call the Republicans bluff” on drilling.
GOP leaders slammed the proposal. “In an attempt to provide themselves political cover, Democrats are going to pretend to ‘open up’ a large portion of the outer continental shelf for energy exploration — but without giving states any of the revenue for the oil and gas off their coasts,” said Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio). “With no financial incentive, no state will choose to ‘opt-in,’ and this bill will result in little or no new American energy production.”
Chris Tucker, an aide to Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), attacked the renewable electricity standard in the bill, which requires utilities to supply escalating amounts of power from renewable sources, saying it would increase electricity costs. Supporters of a federal renewable mandate dispute this.
Meanwhile, the energy package will also institute a new Corporation to distribute $1 billion annually to encourage energy companies to utilize carbon capture-and-storage technology (which doesn’t properly exist yet). Yes, they’re setting up Coalie Mae…or Collie Mac.
This energy package is a sham. It is a repeat of the same old failed strategy of government intervention and technology favoritism. It uses methods that don’t work and provides no solution to the energy crisis. Instead, it exacerbates it.
Speaker Pelosi is trying a Jedi mind-trick: “This is the energy package you’re looking for.” Or should I say, a Sith mind-trick?