Politics

A 'staffer' speaks

Republicans oppose EPA mandate

David Freddoso of National Review learns from a Republican staffer: Actually, the Department of Energy already produces numbers on greenhouse emissions, even state-by state numbers. But these are based on voluntary reporting and reliable estimates and formulas -- there is no "mandatory reporting." So I would not panic, but this does appear to be a change for the worse. Congress is already making a bi-partisan war on America's energy producers and consumers (i.e., everyone) with the Energy Bill they will pass today. It is only a matter of time before climate alarmism adds still more to the already expanding burden on everyone in the form of higher gasoline prices and electricity bills. Look out! The regulations are coming!

Bush signs diluted energy bill into law

President Bush today signed an energy bill into law that the House passed yesterday and the Senate passed last week. The bill increases fuel-economy standards …

'It never would have been this milquetoast without my efforts!'

Does Bush deserve credit for the energy bill?

Let’s review what happened with the energy bill: The House and Senate each voted through energy bills. The Senate’s had a CAFE boost and a …

Germany’s Social Democrats call for climate sanctions on U.S. goods

Angered by what it sees as America’s climate inaction and obstructionism, the Social Democratic Party in Germany has called for sanctions on imports of energy-intensive …

Independent scientists will review federal spotted-owl recovery plan

Under fire for allowing politics to interfere with prudent decision-making about a recovery plan for the Northwest’s iconic spotted owl, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife …

Have we lost more ground than we gained?

If we put narrative above policy, how might the energy bill have played out?

Passing an energy bill at any cost made us look weak, reduced climate change urgency, handed a significant victory to President Bush, and accomplished little of significance. If we had chosen an alternative path -- to take a stand with the fledgling U.S. renewables industry and challenge the obscenely rich oil and coal behemoths -- we would have lost, to be sure, but would have built political power, introduced a novel story, and strengthened ties with an important ally. In acquiescing to a stripped-down energy bill, U.S. environmentalists lost an opportunity to reshape our climate story, strengthen our relationship with the renewable energy sector, and draw a bright line that distinguishes genuine supporters of functional climate action from fair weather friends. Instead, we opted for scraps, gaining emissions reductions of small significance compared to the global problem, displaying political weakness in place of principled courage, and handing a propaganda victory to a president who is singularly responsible for blocking international climate action. Even environmentalists damned the final Senate version with faint praise. The "landmark" hailed by UCS also, in their words, "failed to take a giant step." NRDC called it a "down payment toward fighting global warming," and was "disappointed," and Environment America (formerly the environmental arm of U.S.PIRG) called the measure "historic," even as they observed, "big oil and big coal succeeded in stripping out ... very important parts of the bill." Press and editorial reactions were less equivocal, as this sampling of headlines shows:

Not the bill to take home to mother

Nuclear subsidies likely to stay in omnibus spending package

The Senate is debating the wide-ranging $500-plus billion omnibus spending package right now. Most of the points of contention are extremely important -- FOIA, defense spending -- but for the purposes of this site, a bit off-topic. It failed its most recent cloture vote on the question of war-funding (Republicans, of course, want more), and minority leader Mitch McConnell has basically promised it won't pass unless the Democrats cave. So if when that happens, I'll let you know. I'll also let you know if I hear (or am sent) any statements about the energy provisions, but for now, here's a bunch of info. There are indeed billions of dollars in allowances (though not all mandated subsidies) for nuclear energy programs. The amendment reads (PDF): For Department of Energy expenses including the purchase, construction, and acquisition of plant and capital equipment, and other expenses necessary for nuclear energy activities in carrying out the purposes of the Department of Energy Organization Act including the acquisition or condemnation of any real proper ty or any facility or for plant or facility acquisition, construction, or expansion, and the purchase of not to exceed 20 passenger motor vehicles for replacement only, including one ambulance, $970,525,000, to remain available until expended: Provided, That $233,849,000 is authorized to be appropriated for Project 99-D-143 Mixed Oxide (MOX) Fuel Fabrication Facility, Savannah River Site, South Carolina: Provided further, That the Department of Energy adhere strictly to Department of Energy Order 413.3A for Project 99-D-143. Whew! So, what, exactly, does DOE Order 413.3A mandate? Well, here's what the paper says (PDF):

Notable quotable

“I really would like to vote for this bill because we desperately need an energy bill. The world and particularly the United States faces a …

U.S. House approves toned-down energy bill, Bush to sign it tomorrow

The U.S. House of Representatives today passed a toned-down version of an energy bill that will boost fuel-economy requirements for cars and light trucks to …