As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Energy Bill

Yes, the Federal Energy bill is a disappointment. But think about how much more of a disappointment it would have been if the House didn't stake out such a bold position. They could have not included the renewable energy standard or the tax plan to eliminate subsidies for Big Oil. Now we know that we have 53 and 59 votes, respectively, in the Senate for these initiatives, and with a new President, those could get through. What eventually will pass includes a 40% increase in fuel efficiency and programs for efficient lighting and buildings. I'm somewhat unhappy about the reliance on ethanol, which is a sop to regional interests, and which costs as much, if not more, in energy to produce as the gas itself. However, a healthy percentage of that ethanol production would be from prairie grass and wood chips and cellulosic sources, so technology could be the killer app here.

Overall, this bill, which is likely to be signed, will not cause too much harm, will take a step in the right direction, and we'll be able to get the other noble elements later.

(This is my "pragmatic" persona. If I didn't have it, I'd be tearing my hair out by now.)

UPDATE: I agree that Mary Landrieu's behavior is disgusting. She was the only Democratic vote to uphold the filibuster of the first stripped-down energy bill, which still had the tax package. There was absolutely no reason for her to vote against the filibuster, she could have pulled a reverse Lieberman, voting to end debate and then voting against the bill. Landrieu is up for re-election in Louisiana, in a tough race and I won't be too sorry to see her go. And the Senate Democrats should have applied more pressure.

But then the bill would have drawn a veto, we can't get to 67, and there's no energy bill.

I sound like an idiot, I know, but while I would agree that you can draw a line in the sand over the truly bad global warming bill, I don't see the need to do that here. The Senate has almost no victories right now. Raising CAFE standards is not a little thing.

UPDATE II: Again, I fully understand that the two parts taken out of the bill were the two best parts. And there are all sorts of things you can do to force those wielding the filibuster out into the open. I would bring those pieces of the bill up again soon, in an election year, to put more pressure on everybody.

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