Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Limp, Lame, and Spineless

If you think that the Democrats are limp on peace, lame on torture, and spineless on confirmations, get a load of their most recent cave- in on the the development of renewable energy. Here is the story from Kelpie Wilson and TruthOut:

Last Thursday, Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid said that they would jettison the renewable energy provisions in both the House and Senate versions of the 2007 energy bill in the interest of passing a bill before the Thanksgiving recess begins on November 17.

Republicans have been holding up action on the bill for months now, refusing to participate in conference committee meetings to reconcile the House and Senate versions. The big sticking points for Republicans have been support for renewable energy and ending billions of dollars in subsidies for oil companies. Democrats would like to use the oil subsidy money to support solar and wind power.

Representatives of the renewable energy industry were dismayed by the Democrats' abandonment. "This is basically Congress delivering an early Christmas present to the American public - and it's a lump of coal," said Rhone Resch, president of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). "We are feeling disgusted because this energy bill goes right back to maintaining the status quo."

The renewable energy provisions in the bill come in two forms: a Renewable Electricity Standard that requires utilities to supply 15 percent of their electricity from renewable sources like solar and wind, and tax provisions, including a production tax credit for wind power and a tax credit to encourage investment in solar power equipment.

While the Renewable Electricity Standard would be a new federal program (31 states already have some kind of renewable mandate), the tax incentives for solar and wind would continue programs already in place.

Losing these tax breaks would be devastating to the renewable energy industry, said solar lobbyist Scott Sklar of the Stella Group: "It will cause sales and investment to implode." By giving up on renewable energy, lawmakers are losing an opportunity to increase energy security and strengthen the economy.

Last week the American Solar Energy Society released a report on the economic benefits of investment in renewable energy, finding that major investments in renewables and energy efficiency retrofits could produce 40 million jobs and generate $4.5 trillion in US revenue by 2030.

The latest turn in the energy bill would actually force the country a few steps backward. Scott Sklar said that unlike in past years, there is little chance that the renewable tax incentives will be attached to another bill for passage this year.

If those tax incentives are lost, Americans will feel the pain quickly. Randall Swisher, head of the American Wind Energy Association said that the rapid growth of the American wind industry would go into a stall. "Getting into 2008, we will start to see uncertainty creep in in terms of getting projects financed and, even more importantly, attracting manufacturers to this country, bringing with them the jobs that are a critical part of what this industry can deliver for the future of this country," said Swisher." more

I'm in a hotel a few miles away from the largest collection of wind turbines in the world. Across the street, almost 300 people have come to see and talk about how Texas can do even more in dealing with the greatest enemy that we as a civilization must face.

Our dependence on fossil fuels,

and those who choose to continue the folly.

The Limp, the Lame, and the Spineless.


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