The Kerry-BP ‘Energy Refund’ Bill

E&E Daily reports that, speaking before a lobbying group gathered to promote more ethanol-style boondoggles (but for windmills), “Sen. John Kerry is predicting widespread support from electric utilities, chemical companies and Big Oil as he enters his seventh month of closed-door negotiations on a comprehensive energy and climate bill that still hasn’t made its way into public view.

Along the way Kerry says some very silly things as putative lead author of this, the Senate’s cap-and-trade bill now being styled as an “energy” bill on the heels of a memo by pollster Stanley Greenberg that the public weren’t buying “cap-and-trade” or “global warming”. As quoted by E&E:

“Ironically, we’ve been working very closely with some of these oil companies in the last months,” Kerry said, referring to BP, ConocoPhillips and Royal Dutch Shell PLC. “And I want to tell you they’ve acted in good faith and they’ve worked hard with us to try to find a way to get us to a solution that meets all of our needs. And I believe, when we roll out a bill, and we will very, very soon, we’re going to have a unique coalition.”

Actually, Baptist and Bootlegger coalitions are not remotely unique, as Kerry presumably knows full well. But this whole setup has been telegraphed for some time, and I detail the whole scam, just in time, here [1].

The truth is that Kerry’s partner in drafting this bill, BP, lost the plot some years ago in its zeal to pretend it was “Beyond Petroleum” (check its balance sheet to see the reality). Working closely with none other than Enron, BP focused on getting the Kyoto treaty and cap-and-trade schemes with subsidies for their otherwise failing wind and solar boondoggles. Along the way BP chased out their most talented people by telling them the future lay elsewhere.

And for more than six years they’ve been “soiling the nest for everyone”, according to an old friend who now works in the petrochemical industry, by, well, killing workers and messing up the joint with exploding plants, rigs and leaking pipelines. The Deepwater Horizon incident is not an offshore drilling issue; it’s a BP issue. Offshore drilling has a spectacular safety record in recent decades, and BP has a wretched one. This latest BP event is consistent with only one of those.

So along comes John Kerry and Harry Reid, desperate to cram-down the Obama priority of a scheme to move key energy use decisions from individual producers and consumers to the state. To get industry support — and, they’ve made clear, to call off the dogs of planned advertising blitzes by the American Petroleum Institute and Chamber of Commerce — Reid openly admits to having brought those constituencies behind closed doors to ask them what they need to support the bill.

What both interests need is to escape pass the burden of a gas tax hike straight through to you with no hit on them. Remember, the gas tax is on top of the light switch tax that Obama vowed would cause your “electricity prices [to] necessarily skyrocket”.

Kerry’s co-author, Sen. Lindsey Graham, has insisted that the gas tax, alternately styled as a “carbon linked fee” (tying the tax amount to the price of the electricity “allowances”, or ration coupons) will not be in the bill as introduced. That’s fine, so far as Kabuki theater goes: Reid has made clear he is the one writing the bill that will come to the floor, and has (again) suspended the committee process to avoid troubling public scrutiny and input.

If you would like to sniff the rat hiding in this scheme about which we have been told for years won’t actually cost you anything, well, look at the new claim that a lot of the money it won’t cost you will be given back. So long as you meet the description of who needs the “rebate”. Which you won’t:

“‘Two-thirds of every dollar raised in the course of this effort goes straight back to the American consumer on their energy bill,’ Kerry said. ‘You’ll actually look at your energy bill and it will say, “Your bill would have been this, but now it’s this, because you’re getting a rebate.”‘

Kerry said that ‘after a year or two, 100 percent goes back to the American consumer.’ And in the meantime, he said funding would be directed toward energy efficiency and research and development on new energy technologies.

Ahhhh. “Big Oil” has been working closely with Kerry to draft a bill to…make sure the government takes your money to give it all back. That sounds like a perfectly reasonable explanation and logical use of a company’s lobbying dollars. Maybe they can come to town to help me on a zoning issue I’m having, too?

Is it possible, as this sounds, that Kerry really has no comprehension of how these schemes have been designed, so far, to work? Even though this is the government we’re talking about, no scheme takes X from you only to give X back, whether after the (risible) “one or two years” or otherwise.  Some of you will get some of it back; others will get a lot of your energy tax money “back” as a wealth transfer.

That is, I suggest you’re being spun. What this really means is a new addition to the existing “refundable tax credit” (wealth transfer from taxpayers to non- or very low federal income tax payers): everyone’s electricity bills spike enough to cause you to use appreciably less energy.

Because this is regressive — hitting seniors and the poor hardest — some people get money back. Obviously if everybody did then there’s no point in taking the money to begin with. Your tax hike is being transferred to “green technology” interests like, well, BP and the windmill lobby. And to other people, in the form of a “rebate” that happens to be more than they were charged with these energy tax hikes.

And you thought things couldn’t get worse in Washington.