Thursday, June 28, 2007

 

6 Days 'Till Energy Independence Day

Remember this?

“We hope to have legislation on global warming and energy independence through the committees by July 4th, so that this year, Independence Day is also ‘Energy Independence Day.’ Speaker Nancy Pelosi News Room Press Releases

If you’re like me, you’ve been waiting impatiently ever since for our Energy Independence and from what I’m reading, the wait will be worth it:

“As committees raced to wrap up bills yesterday before Monday's recess, the Democratic strategy remained unclear.” House Democrats at Odds Over Energy Bill Provisions - washingtonpost.com

Well, as they say, pay no attention to that man behind the curtain. I’ve looked at the House bill and all I can ask is – “Why didn’t we do this before?”.

Here’s what the House Committee on Energy and Commerce is considering:

Committee Print #1, To promote greater energy efficiency;
Committee Print #2, To facilitate the transition to a smart electricity grid;
Committee Print #3, To clarify the amount of loans to be guaranteed under title XVII of the Energy Policy Act of 2005;
Committee Print #4, To promote the development of renewable fuels infrastructure;
Committee Print #5, To promote advanced plug-in hybrid vehicles and vehicle components; and
Committee Print #6, To enhance availability of energy information.
The House Committee on Energy and Commerce :: Selected Legislation and Issues - Issue Name

I’ve read through the Committee Prints and there is a lot of ground breaking stuff in there. And, as expected with a problem this immense, the solutions will require sacrifice and hard work. If the Democrats have their way, we can expect, among other things:

· A consensus agreement on incandescent reflector lamp standards,
· DOE to complete a furnace fan rulemaking by July 1, 2013,
· The Establishment of a $30 million “Center of Excellence” at NC A&T…which then has to give $5 million each to 5 other Historically Black Colleges,
· The providing for a public outreach effort to provide information on green buildings,
· Definitions for what a green building is.

That’s right, with typical Washington bravado, we can expect Energy Independence by simply passing a bill that seeks “consensus”, defines certain terms and sets strict guidelines for giving grants (no “vertically integrated oil company” need apply). Ethanol, with its lower gas mileage and contribution to higher food costs is also favorably considered. So, with that kind of effort, who needs nuclear power, new oil drilling or coal liquification? Apparently not us because they are not part of the bill.

Side Note: “At yesterday's markup at the House Energy and Commerce Committee, [Congressman Ed] Markey lamented "what's not in this bill." He said "the country has been waiting 20 years to address the issue" of fuel efficiency. He called it "our duty."

20 years is the how long we’ve gone since our last fuel efficiency legislation and I guess Congressman Markey believes that we’ve wanted even more ever since. I guess the Congressman also believes that we are reluctant to demand more fuel efficient vehicles absent a federal government mandate. Congressman Markey is a BC grad…’nuff said.

Comments:
The costs of ethanol.

This is the same sort of thinking that goes into Middle East peacemaking. If we sign papers we have peace. If we sign papers we have fuel efficiency.
 
The most efficient way to reduce (not eliminate) dependence on foreign oil might be to allow the importation at market prices of Brazilian sugar cane. It would be better for us to be dependent on Brazil for sugar cane - a product we can and do in fact produce - than on the Saudis for oil. But ADM and the sugar mafia in Florida will have none of it.

Sugar cane, unlike ethanol, is a generally net plus on energy production, in part because its BTU density is pretty high. Like athanol, it's carbon neutral (i.e. conservation of matter yields no new carbon into the dirt/air/water cycle.) Plus sugar cane is less of an enviro-hazard in the event of a pipeline or tanker assault; while it can be explosive, it's almost completely hyper-biodegradable, reducing the cost to insure the carriers.

Sugar cane engines are becoming the standard for fleet vehicles in Brazil.
 
SD - you're right, I'm also reminded of how much safer we seemingly become every time we pass some new gun control law.

Bruce - Amen! our price supports for sugar (indeed most agricultural supports) are a national disgrace
 
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