The Wonk Room has previously explained how the push for oil shale is like drilling for a trillion tons of tater tots. At the Global Clinton Initiative on Wednesday, Gore offered a stark criticism of the House of Representatives vote to eliminate the moratorium on oil shale development in the continuing resolution for the 2009 budget:
Now, one final point. Today, today, the US Congress is dealing with energy. They are without debate and without a single hearing preparing to lift the moratorium on the development of oil shale, which would vastly multiply the amount of CO2 from every gallon of gasoline.
This is utter insanity.
And it demonstrates the wealth and power of the entrenched carbon lobby to twist policy and to put out illusory impressions about this, is overwhelming free debate. So, we need to stop this. You know, each year, we have a great discussion here, and there’s progress made. But it’s not enough. It’s not enough.
We, the human species, have to solve this crisis.
Yesterday, Sen. Reid (D-NV) and Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) unveiled an economic stimulus bill (S. 3604) which would continue the oil shale moratorium, includes $500 million to support weatherization of low-income homes, $7.5 billion for loans to auto companies to manufacture advanced, more energy-efficient vehicles, $2 billion for public transit, $350 million for Amtrak, $300 million for advanced battery research, $300 million to help local governments improve energy efficiency, $750 million for environmental clean up, and $800 million for urban and rural clean water systems.
UPDATE: The bill was filibustered 52-42. Senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Evan Bayh (D-IN) joined forty Republicans to vote against the bill. Sens. Biden (D-DE), Graham (R-SC), Kennedy (D-MA), McCain (R-AZ), Obama (D-IL), and Stevens (R-AK) did not vote.
UPDATE II: Eric Kleiman, Bayh spokesman, explains Bayh’s vote against the stimulus bill:
The package included billions of dollars in deficit-financed spending of questionable stimulative value, including $925 million for a U.S. polar icebreaker and $250 million for the next generation NASA spacecraft.