Friday, June 15, 2007

Energy Measure Blocked by Republicans in Senate

Senate Democrats, facing their first significant battle over a wide-ranging bill intended to reduce oil consumption, found themselves blocked by Republicans on Thursday and postponed all significant votes until next week.
The Democrats’ unexpected difficulty meant they made virtually no progress on the energy bill after about a week of floor debate. Though the Senate’s intricate rules make such logjams common, the delay was a bad omen for what lawmakers already knew would be a long and grueling fight on one of the signature issues of energy conservation and renewable fuels.

At issue on Thursday was a provision called the “Renewable Portfolio Standard,” which would require electric utilities to obtain 15 percent of their electricity from wind, solar or biomass energy by 2020.

But the energy bill would make profound changes in other areas as well. It would require car companies to increase the average fuel economy of cars and light trucks to 35 miles a gallon by 2020. It would also require a huge increase in the production of renewable fuels for cars and trucks and require the federal government to set tougher efficiency standards for electric appliances. The measure would also give the government more power to prosecute “price gouging” by oil companies.

Senate Democrats are also drafting a tax package that is expected to provide as much as $25 billion in incentives for renewable fuels and conservation — much of which would be paid for by tax increases on the nation’s oil companies. Those provisions face intense opposition from the affected industries, and President Bush has threatened to veto any bill that contains the price-gouging measure.

These sound like reasonable proposals but they were blocked by Republicans who receive significant campaign contributions from the Energy Industry. How can they constantly talk about Homeland Security then block a bill that would lessen our dependence on foreign oil by seeking alternate sources of energy?

The current Republican Party cares more about big business then they do any citizens of the United States. It is time to make them a permanent minority and grow a third political party which would actually do the bidding of the citizens of the United States.

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