[From the diaries by susanhu. Important!] Reports confirm that the goal is to finish the bill, including final votes, before the August recess. While the process this time has been more inclusive than previous conferences and the Senate version of the bill was not half bad, the mode now is more “ameliorating rather than preventive,” which is not a good thing for us.
Basically, the Senate is going to cave into the insane and insidious House version.
The easier issues have been addressed and resolved, now it is time for the committee to deal with the harder issues, which include oil and gas provisions. The Dems’ priorities include no rollbacks on environmental provisions (NEPA, CWA, etc) as well as consumer protection, RES and ethanol. Great. But that’s not enough. Better no bill that this bill.
Best let this bill die.
There is little consensus. Remember, the two bills could not be more different. The biggest sticking point is on MTBE, the chemical fuel additive that is poinsoning community groundwater systems around the country. Naturally, the House Republicans want it exempted from the Clean Water Act and from lawsuits. Why? House Republicans care about money, not people. Rep. Joe Barton has indicated he may remove the MTBE immunitiy provision from the House version but I wouldn’t count on it. Other sticking points are in just how much pork to give out to the oil and gas industry. By my count the House version offers about $90 BILLION in pork while the Senate version offers ONLY $16 BILLION.
There is consensus that conservation is bad and drilling is good. While the Senate bill is more “green” than the House bill, neither address increasing fuel economy standards and other conservation measures. Sen. Feinstein’s amendment to halt the exclusion of SUVs from automobile fuel economy standards was soundly defeated.
One tax break, pointed out in an LA Times article (sorry, no link) in the Senate bill would pork the oil and gas producers drilling in federal waters $100 million over 10 years. In another, the House grants $2 billion for that purpose over 10 years.
Source: LA Times
Meanwhile, on the ground, the rape of public and private property that is the result of our lack of logical energy policy continues:
“Our crops are not growing at all,” she said. “We had been trying to grow gourmet garlic for commercial purposes and used to have 3,000 to 4,000 plants. Now all of it is dead. We used to have alfalfa but it doesn’t grow there either. The only thing that’s there now is thistle.” She said that the seeping methane gas hot spots are definitely visible in their field. “We have a water well and all around the well there are little holes where the gas bubbles up when it’s wet,” Saint said. The state is installing vents in their home to address possible leakages of methane gas, which is tasteless, odorless and colorless. She said their land is about a mile away from the closest drilling sites and that so far gas company officials have not done anything to help them with the situation.
Manzanares said he’s also concerned with channeled water emanating from the gas extraction process flowing to holding ponds that may be killing vegetation and nearby trees due to its methane gas content. “I have no scientific basis for charging that the operators are responsible but it’s still very coincidental that these vegetation kills are occurring in several areas.”
George Mondragon Jr.He said landowners may be able to seek relief from a state recovery fund that gas industry operators pay into for environmental mediation. “The Legislature could give local boards and commissioners authority to recover damages over gas that may have come into homes and water wells or damaged crops.”
Source: Pueblo Chieftain (CO)
and industry runs our government agencies:
The arrangement takes place amid a crush of companies clamoring to drill for oil and gas in the Uinta Basin, and an agency whose budget has been cut in the midst of the stampede.
Facing a backlog of about 400 permits in the Vernal field office, a handful of small oil and gas companies pooled their resources through their trade group, Independent Petroleum Association of Mountain States, to hire the consultants through SWCA Environmental Consulting to “volunteer” in the Vernal office.
The consultants – experts in archaeology, paleontology, geology and wildlife biology – went to work in mid-February and committed to work full time for three months, according to documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. IPAMS has since extended the contract on a month-to-month basis.
Source: Salt Lake Tribune
And inappropriatly fight for industry and against local people:
“That’s why we’re offering just one parcel” for lease, he said. “The very limited leasing is key to getting an implementation plan.”
Stuart also said the BLM is not rushing to drill but has spent six years developing a management plan.
“The groups [environmental and local citizen groups] are using hysteria and deliberate distortion to promote their views,” he said. “BLM manages its lands for all of the public, not just groups that are using this issue for political purposes or to raise funds.”
Source: Albuquerque Journal
While the BLM and Forest Service budgets are cut and the oil and gas industry makes its millions from our taxes:
The bureau plans to announce a regulatory proposal tomorrow that would charge thousands of dollars in fees for oil and gas development permits on federal lands. The proposal calls for eventually charging $4,000 for Applications for Permits to Drill (APD), as well as other fees for geophysical exploration permits and geothermal drilling permits.
When fully phased in, the draft proposal — which will have a 30-day public comment period — would recover about $23.5 million more each year in mineral processing funds than existing rules, the bureau said.
But it is already under attack. Dan Naatz, the director of federal resources for the Independent Petroleum Association of America, said the fees could slow production, especially from smaller companies, even though oil and gas prices are high today.
Source: E&E News
What is going on here? Ask your Senator and Representatives.
As I’ve said before, even if this ridiculous bill makes it though committee and to the President (who has promised to sign it) this bill will do nothing to clear up and secure the energy needs of our nation – it will only make things worse (which is a little hard to believe)
Its better that this bill goes the way of the previous Energy Bills: into the trash can where it belongs.