Yesterday, House Republicans, led by Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), introduced the “American Energy Act,” an energy bill that shares not just the title but most of its content with the “American Energy Act” of 2008, the Republican energy bill that died in the House last year.
House Republicans are quick to try to call the new American Energy Act a “substitute” and an “alternative” to the Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454). Yet, like the 2008 version, the 2009 “American Energy Act” is heavy on dirty energy and light on the clean energy that generates American jobs.
Like its predecessor, Pence’s bill would continue the Bush/Cheney tactic of giveaways to oil companies. The GOP bill also makes a point of denying global warming — just as in 2008. This new bill merely restates the wrong-headed priorities of the past, mentioning “oil” three times more often that it mentions “renewable” energy and barely mentioning “climate change” at all.
This word frequency chart is a quick way to visualize the differences in priorities between the GOP energy plan and the Waxman-Markey clean energy economy bill:
The word “oil” appears 93 times in Pence’s legislation — much as it made 95 appearances in the 2008 bill — while there are just 29 mentions of renewable energy, only a few more than in the 2008 version. In the Waxman-Markey legislation, which would make historic investments in clean and renewable energy and create millions jobs, there are 141 references to renewable energy. The Pence “substitute” claims that it will “encourage greater efficiency and conversation,” but mentions “efficiency” only seven times. Waxman-Markey brings up “efficiency” more than 240 times.
Even the updated portions of the bill are just warmed-over, previously rejected Republican ideas: one of the biggest (and only) changes to the bill is the new emphasis on nuclear energy, but it’s just more of the same out-of-touch rhetoric on nuclear power that Sen. John McCain tried to push during the 2008 presidential election. As Joe Romm points out, this risky nuclear scheme could actually amount to an energy tax on American families.
We’ve seen where this obsession has gotten us: the Bush energy system made us more dependent than ever on oil and increased annual energy costs for American families by $1,100. The House GOP just hasn’t gotten the message that we can’t afford more of the same.