Some conservatives getting uncomfortable with energy-bill pork

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, being a conservative meant favoring free markets and smaller, less intrusive federal government. A shrinking number of conservatives still cling to the old ways, and they are disturbed by the energy bill making its way through the House. Though Republican leaders promised to trim the bill down from the bloated version that was defeated in past years, a new analysis by the watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense shows that lawmakers have added $35 billion to the bill’s costs in the last three weeks, making for a total of $88.9 billion in subsidies for the oil, gas, nuclear, coal, and other industries over the next 10 years. Some question why oil and gas companies need subsidies at a time of historically high energy prices. Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) has offered an amendment that would strip the bill of what he calls “corporate welfare,” saying, “When government decides what is a viable investment instead of the marketplace, you distort the market.”