Republicans are playing a briar patch game in Congress again. They’re whining, complaining about the Energy legislation going through Congress, when in fact, it delivers a huge amount of the same old 20th century fossil fuel subsidies that Republicans just love. There’s a problem with the American Clean Energy and Security Act, all right, but the problem is that the legislation is not sustainable enough. It’s been polluted with pork, continuing to support Big Oil and Big Coal.
Marchant Wentworth, of the Union of Concerned Scientists, says of the Senate version of the bill,
“This bill’s renewable standard is so pitiful that it wouldn’t require any new renewable energy development beyond business as usual. Moreover, if any states adopted the loopholes and exemptions in this bill, it could reduce the amount of renewable energy development we expect under existing state policies.”
Wentworth points out that the Senate legislation could actually end up supporting dirty old energy sources, like coal-fired power plants, without supporting green energy solutions like wind and solar at all. “The entire fund could be invested in new nuclear reactors or coal plants instead of more cost-effective, low-carbon alternatives,” he says.
The House version of the legislation has many of the same problems as the Senate version. For example, it grants huge amounts of money into non-existent carbon sequestration technology, which, even if it were to be invented, would not make coal into a clean source of energy.
Dennis Kucinich is leading the progressive Democratic revolt against the pro-industry energy bill. Explaining his position, he says,
“We all want to protect our planet, but will the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 do that? I don’t think so.
The pollution targets are inadequate. Regulatory authority is stripped from the EPA. The bill relies on huge numbers of carbon offsets. For example, it says you can have 2 billion tons a year of carbon offsets, which is roughly equivalent to 30 percent of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Recent analysis suggests it might be 2026 until we see the emissions decline below 2005 levels.”
How is this sustainable? How does this legislation meet the Democrats’ promises of a new generation of clean, green, energy?