Politics

Oil lobby resorts to open extortion

Hardly new, but brazen nonetheless

Senate Democrats want to pay for renewables with taxes and royalties on oil companies. This pressure is causing the oil lobby to threaten higher gasoline prices: Bill Holbrook, communications director for the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association, told ABC News that there are conflicting signals about what path the nation will take coming from both President Bush and lawmakers on Capitol Hill. The president is calling for a 20 percent reduction on gasoline use while some lawmakers are pushing for more biofuels. If you process gasoline, those in the industry say that none of those developments are necessarily going to …

Green-collar jobs in Congress

A new amendment from Sanders and Clinton

Over at The Hill‘s Congress Blog, Sen. Bernie Sanders touts his green-collar jobs amendment to the energy bill, which will come up for debate this week. (Sen. Clinton also put her name on it.) Great to see this issue getting attention. See, again: Van Jones.

Time to put the notion of 'energy independence' to bed

So says Jim Henley, and yours truly

Jim Henley says that "energy independence" is the most ridiculous phrase in the American political lexicon: The concept of "energy independence" is a sham. I think it’s generally code for "Then we can stop being nice to the fvcking A-rabs," but this gets gussied up with terms like "instability" and references to Hugo Chavez, who has been around a lot less long than the Magic Words. (It is often also code for "let’s float politically connected domestic producers some subsidies!") There’s no question that the oil-producing world is full of problematic regimes. But you don’t hear every respectable politician in …

Why does Bush never veto legislation?

Because he can just direct federal agencies to ignore it instead. And speaking of corrupt federal agencies, check out the latest clowning at Interior, involving Steven Griles, one of the A-list hacks of the Bush years. The cojones on these guys …

Breaking: Senate fights off liquid coal

More victories

Sweet! Here’s a press release I just got from Friends of the Earth: —– WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate today voted against two attempts to encourage the use of liquid coal, rejecting a pair of amendments to the energy bill that would have alternately mandated 6 billion gallons of liquid coal use annually by 2022 or provided $10 billion in loan subsidies to produce liquid coal. “This is a victory for anyone who takes global warming seriously or cares about environmentally destructive mining,” said Friends of the Earth President Brent Blackwelder. “Coal mining is a dirty process, and with current …

We Can’t Bear to Look

U.S. Senate squares off on ambitious energy bill All eyes are on the Senate this week as it debates a controversial Democrat-penned energy bill. (Hey! We said “all eyes”! Don’t go away.) The legislation contains several provisions that make Big Oil, Big Auto, and Big Republicans squirm: it would shift nearly $15 billion in tax credits and subsidies from oil to renewable sources like wind and solar; require utilities to produce 15 percent of their power from renewables; give the feds more power to prosecute gasoline price-gouging; and mandate a fuel-efficiency standard for cars, SUVs, and small trucks of 35 …

Dingell and Boucher back off worst elements of Energy Committee proposal

Chalk up a win for Pelosi

Well hey, look at that! No sooner do I write a post on the horrible legislative proposal out of Dingell’s Energy Committee than I find out that Pelosi has more or less beat it back. A memo Dingell sent to the committee today (PDF) says that he and Boucher are removing most of the controversial elements: the CTL subsidies, the weak fuel-economy standards, and perhaps most significantly, the preemption of state (read: California) tailpipe air quality standards. The memo says: Almost one month ago, we began circulating a series of staff discussion drafts of energy legislation that generated, as we …

D.C.

Wherein I chat with House types

Hi! I’m back. And — if you’ll indulge me in a little whining — I’m sick as a dog, woefully behind on the news, buried under work, and just generally frazzled and bedraggled and haggard. And what’s with time zones? They’re stupid. Woe is me, I tell you. I wanted to do a quick post about my D.C. trip, though, which was a blast. Of course the party was great. Somebody (me?) will probably do a separate post about that later. But aside from that, I ran around town meeting all sorts of interesting people — congressional staffers, members of …

TNR gives good Gore

After reading so many awful stories about Al Gore, it’s nice to finally come upon a good one. The reliably excellent Ryan Lizza gets it right in The New Republic. It’s also worth reading the transcript of his interview with Gore, which contains much tasty goodness, including this compact, dead-on description of modern presidential campaigns: I don’t want to be critical of the candidates, that’s not my intention. But I don’t think the modern campaign process facilitates a genuine exchange of ideas. It’s multiple overlapping games of gotcha and who can read the polls and the focus groups most skillfully …

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