As House Lawmakers Push Massive Increase In Fossil Fuel Drilling, They Slash 13 Key Clean Energy Programs

The GOP’s mantra on energy is “we shouldn’t pick winners and losers.” But all one needs to do is look at Republican legislative priorities to see how hollow that slogan is.

A series of bills currently being considered in Congress make it very clear that House Republicans are attempting to stack the deck in favor of the fossil fuel industry.

Heck, they don’t even try to hide it.

They assume the “we shouldn’t pick winners and losers” line provides enough of a distraction to give them room to write bills stripping funding for clean energy and promote massive increases in fossil fuel extraction.

Next week is a big one for the most anti-environmental House of Representatives in the history of Congress. As outlined in a recent memo from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), GOP leaders will attempt to pass a sweeping piece of legislation that will open up far more federal lands to drilling.

The bill, called the Strategic Energy Production Act, combines a variety of proposals to roll back EPA safeguards, require more drilling on public lands, and speed up leasing for oil and gas extraction. It’s part of a legislative drumbeat in support of fossil fuels that House Republicans are trying to maintain through the beginning of the summer.

Seeing as how Republicans don’t like picking winners and losers, opening up America to all that drilling would mean maintaining support of clean, renewable sources of energy, right?

Of course not.

Next week’s push for more drilling on public lands follows a series of anti-clean energy amendments adopted into a House water and energy spending bill last week. Those amendments include steep cuts to efficiency programs, a key wind R&D program, clean car rules for federal vehicles, and international commitments to developing countries. Heck, even energy efficiency targets for shower heads weren’t spared in the spending bill.

Rather than balance out these cuts with subsequent cuts to fossil fuels, the bill actually increases R&D spending on fossil fuel technologies by 60 percent.

Maria Gallucci of Inside Climate News documented the 13 different cuts to clean energy programs. Here’s a rundown of some of the programs that lawmakers want to get rid of (see the full story for background on the various programs on the chopping block):

  • National R&D initiative for wind technologies. Sponsor: Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.)
  • Federal requirements for zero-carbon buildings. Sponsor: Rep. Rodney Alexander (R-La.)
  • Federal ban on carbon-intensive fuels. Sponsor: Rep. Bill Flores (R-Texas)
  • International spending on clean energy initiatives. Sponsor: Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.)
  • Federal efficiency standards for light bulbs. Sponsor: Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas)
  • 40-year old efficiency requirement for DOE grant winners. Sponsor: Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-Minn.)
  • 20-year old efficiency standards for showerheads. Sponsor: David Schweikert (R-Ariz.)
  • Efficiency standards for battery chargers. Sponsor: Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.)

As our lawmakers attempt to open up every square inch of America to more drilling rigs, they’re also working to systematically dismantle any program that helps reduce our energy intensity or helps us transition to cleaner sources energy. The remarkable thing is that some of these effective programs are decades old, have come from Republican administrations, and have never been seen as stripping away consumer rights.

This is the fantasy land that many House Republicans are living in today. By throwing around phrases like “not picking winners and losers” and “protecting individual choice,” they’re attempting to set up a smokescreen for their blatant promotion of fossil fuels and disdain for anything that would disrupt the status quo.

Those mantras are nothing more than political code for more dirty energy, less clean energy, and doing nothing about climate change.

11 Responses to As House Lawmakers Push Massive Increase In Fossil Fuel Drilling, They Slash 13 Key Clean Energy Programs

  1. Diego says:

    Silly U.S.

    We lived 3 years in Massachusetts, but I’m very glad that we left the States again.

    The U.S. are doomed if the the Democrates don’t act more rigorously in the future against the GOP.

    Good luck to all of you!

  2. D. R. Tucker says:

    Just in time for the Rio+20 Earth Summit, CodeREDD has announced a new campaign – “a radical market driven” – effort to save the world’s threatened forests. Code REDD Founder, Mike Korchinsky explains what’s at stake and why this approach is needed. Next, climate activist and college student, Geneva Boyer, joins us to grace us with her poignant (and political!) poetry and share her view of what’s needed next– from her generation and elsewhere– to address the climate crisis.

    Read more:
    Under Creative Commons License: Attribution

  3. Rabid Doomsayer says:

    Our owners do not want renewable energy. They want to extract the highest possible dollar from the last drop of oil.

    If you want to see renewables prosper, sell the sun to the Koch brothers.

  4. Sasparilla says:

    Quite a piece here Stephen, very nicely done.

    The Koch’s, the true chief thugs behind the war on climate change and green energy (this is what’s all different than 4 years ago) at the congressional level via their front groups and funding, they must be very happy – they haven’t quite won it all – but considering where we were at the end of 2008 (climate change action seemed assured) they can certainly see total victory from here…

  5. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Of course looking at the USA one feels great sympathy for the morally sane inhabitants, living in a state as it chooses willing madness and self-destruction, driven to collapse by a morally insane elite. It must be like Germany in the early 1930s. Of course, when the state choosing madness controls over 50% of the world’s means of military destruction, this madness becomes all the world’s problem.

  6. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    When I hear ‘market driven’ my mind says ‘Money first’. Our efforts must be driven by rationality, compassion and decency, not greed and self-interest, even when dressed up as our quasi-religion.

  7. BillD says:

    I wonder why the GOPers don’t understand the concept of a “worldwide” market in oil (and gasoline. Perhaps gas is so expensive in my part of the country (given the reduced price of oil) because gasoline is being exported. That will only be accelerated with the proposed keystone pipeline. The good point is that diesel is now cheaper than gasoline locally. My wife has a new VW that gets 45 miles/gallon on diesel. I guess that they are not exporting much diesel.

  8. Rangachari Anand says:

    This is exactly on the mark. America can drill all it wants but oil is priced globally.

  9. Will Fox says:

    There is something genuinely evil about the Republican Party.

  10. Belgrave says:

    Yes, I look around the world and think “This must be what it would have felt like to live in Europe in the mid to late 1930’s”. Only this time we’ve foolishly chosen to wage war on nature – who always wins.

  11. Rakesh Malik says:

    Anyone remember “taxation without representation” from history class? And what that lead to?

    It’s what we need now.