Crossposted at: Daily Kos

For those of you who actually follow my posts at DKOS, you know that I have been losing my mind over the Energy Bill for about 6 months now.  See: THIS, THIS, THIS, THIS, THIS, and THIS. Oh and also THIS, THIS , THIS and THIS

You also know that I don’t usually like to simply post an entire document nor a document without comment.  But I just saw this from the American Progress Action Fund and I thought it excellent.


Winners And Losers

Guess whose going to lose?  


This afternoon, members of Congress will meet — again — to try to hash out differences over comprehensive energy legislation. Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) is charged with shepherding two competing bills into a single energy plan. The emerging bill sacrifices strong American energy policy in order to throw expensive favors at powerful industry friends. Here are some of the winners and losers:

POLLUTERS WIN: One of the major sticking points in the energy bill is ongoing controversy over the gasoline additive MTBE (methyl tertiary butyl ether). A powerful pollutant which causes cancer in high doses, MTBE has already seeped into the nation’s water supply; it has been detected “in 1,861 water systems in 29 states serving 45 million Americans.” The corporations which manufacture MTBE refuse to clean the water their product has dirtied, forcing states to sue them to take responsibility. The Senate bill refuses to protect the polluters from cleaning up their mess. Thanks to Rep. Barton, however, the House energy bill shields polluters by waiving all MTBE liability lawsuits, leading to the current standoff.

OIL COMPANIES WIN: Both the House and the Senate bills provide billions of dollars for the oil industry for oil-drilling research. The House bill, for example, provides $2 billion for oil-drilling research the companies are already doing anyway and $125 million to reimburse oil and gas companies for 115% of the costs of “remediating, reclaiming and closing orphaned wells.” These lavish supplements come at a time when oil companies are raking in record profits (Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch/Shell Group, for example, “both reported huge increases in first-quarter income” this year). That money is going straight into CEO pockets as profit; as the Wall Street Journal recently reported, the average compensation of oil and gas executives last year was $16.5 million – a 109.1% increase from the year before and the highest of all the other industries profiled. The LA Times opines, “Such giveaways to a fully mature and outrageously prosperous industry are egregious when juxtaposed with the first federal education budget cuts in a decade.”

ENERGY SECURITY LOSES: The Senate adopted an amendment which would require 10% of U.S. electricity to come from renewable sources — like wind and solar power — by 2020. Rep. Barton, however, is opposing such a measure. Both the House and the Senate also ignored Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-CA) efforts to close the so-called “SUV loophole,” a move which would have required SUVs to conform to the national auto fuel economy standards. Sen. Dick Durbin’s (D-IL) attempt to insert a provision that would “require a nearly 50 percent increase in automobile fuel economy to a fleet average of 40 miles per gallon over the next decade” was also shot down. Just this week, Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) both tried to get their colleagues to accept more modest increases to fuel economy; neither succeeded. And the Senate’s provision directing the President to reduce America’s oil dependency by a million barrels per day by 2015 – the only language in either bill that required oil savings – is notably absent from the conference report.

AMERICAN PEOPLE LOSE: Both the House and Senate acknowledge their bills will “do nothing in the short term to drive down high gasoline and other energy prices or significantly reduce America’s growing reliance on foreign oil.” Even worse, a 2004 analysis by the administration’s Energy Information Administration found that the Bush-backed energy bill would even raise gas prices and increase oil demand nearly 14 percent by 2010 (click here for our ideas on how to respond to high prices at the pump). And despite the serious consequences of global warming, neither bill contained mandatory limits on greenhouse gas pollution.

BARTON WINS: It’s plain Rep. Barton knows on which side his bread is buttered. Corporate energy interests have lined his pockets with more than $1.5 million over the past decade. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, since 1993 the oil and gas industries have given Barton more than $750,000. Electrical companies have given him nearly $700,000. An additional $40,000 came from miscellaneous energy interests.

Sorry.  You lose.

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