Unfortunately, the legislation introduced in Kansas to overturn Sec. Bremby’s rejection of two new coal-fired power plants has passed through the state’s Senate.
It is still unclear whether the legislation will be able to acquire the 2/3rds majority needed to overturn a veto by Governor Kathleen Sebelius, which is practically a guarantee.
Kansas legislators have spent the last week in hearings on the legislation. You can find a record of live-blogging here. But it doesn’t seem like they’ve been paying much attention to the debate, either on the coal plants or global warming; they’ve been sadly misinformed.
State Sen. Phil Journey, R-Haysville, dismissed climate change as an “unproven scientific theory.”
State Sen. Tim Huelskamp, R-Fowler, said CO2 was part of nature and helped crops grow. “I’m a farmer. We love CO2,” he said.
Okay, then you should also love water, a resource that’s likely to go scarce as temperature increases caused by greenhouse gas emissions set in. And, you probably don’t like pests, who may feel more welcome to feast on your crops under warmer conditions.
Their science is wrong, their logic is crooked, and they’ve been duped by coal advocates.
There could be a bright side. You know, like, a solar energy alternative. Or perhaps, wind – Dodge City, Kansas is considered one of the windiest places in the country (if not the windiest). Holcomb is about an hour and ten minutes away from Dodge City.
One of the major arguments in favor of the new coal plants is the job creation and economic stimulation it would bring to the region. But look closer and you find that renewables create more jobs (see studies here and here) and investment in them has the potential to stimulate the regional economy in an unprecedented and clean way.
If only the legislators would open their eyes. Dirty historical precedent and a wealthy industry lobby simply aren’t reason enough to put this massive a scale of Kansas health, wealth, and resources on the line.
– Kari M.
The energy bill passed by Congress last December originally contained a beneficial if temporary set of financial incentives to spur the growth of renewable energy technologies in the United States.
The bill included a renewable energy portfolio standard (RPS) that would require states to acquire part of their electric power from renewable resources. The RPS would have guaranteed a market for these technologies — one of the ways to help a new industry establish a foothold in the economy.
The energy bill also contained an extension of the Production Tax Credit (PTC) — a tax break for emerging renewable energy industries that Congress has a history of approving for only a year or two at a time. (See “The Subsidy Tease — Part I“.)
The PTC and a package of other clean-energy incentives would have been funded by taking back about $12 billion in tax breaks from the oil industry. The trade-off was sensible not only because the oil industry doesn’t need the money, but because in some small symbolic measure, the repeal would have helped level the playing field for those young renewable energy industries trying to compete against oil, gas and coal industries that have been fattened for generations by the nation’s taxpayers.
As a result, many of the energy efficiency incentives contained in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 died on December 31 and others will expire in a few months. They include incentives for efficiency in commercial buildings; tax credits for installing efficient furnaces, air conditioners, water heaters, windows and other improvements in existing homes; incentives for manufacturers to make high-efficiency refrigerators, dishwashers and washing machines; the tax credit for residential solar system installation; and a tax credit for plug-in hybrid vehicles.
Because the future of the PTC and investment tax credits for renewables is uncertain, four of America’s trade associations for the renewables industry — including solar, wind, hydro power and geothermal energy — report that sales and new projects already are disappearing.
The head of the Solar Energy Industries Association predicts, for example, that 80 utility-sized solar electric projects, promising hundreds of thousands of construction jobs and more than 20,000 permanent jobs, will not be completed unless the tax credits are extended quickly.
On its face, it would seem that extending and expanding federal incentives for energy efficiency and renewable energy would be good economic stimulus, creating new jobs and new disposable income for Americans as their energy bills went down. The Senate Finance Committee apparently thought so, too. Earlier this month it added the package of clean-energy incentives to the economic stimulus bill designed to help blunt a recession.
When will the media stop calling McCain a straight talker and realize he is a pathological … double talker?
I realize the “L” word is frowned upon in politics, so instead of using that word, which, in any case, doesn’t do justice to the full range of doubletalk in the political arena — let’s just imagine there is an agreed-upon objective scale from 1 to 10 of veracity (with 5 being half-true) that goes something like this: