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House GOP offers Americans false hope, failed policies, and eco-havoc — will the media bite?

By Joe Romm on July 21, 2008 at 9:39 pm

"House GOP offers Americans false hope, failed policies, and eco-havoc — will the media bite?"

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I have received the text of an Alice-in-Wonderland memo (below) that House Republican leaders will circulate Tuesday on legislation they plan to offer. It claims:

To increase the supply American-made energy in environmentally sound ways, the legislation will:
* Open our deep water ocean resources, which will provide an additional 3 million barrels of oil per day;
* Open the Arctic coastal plain, which will provide an additional 1 million barrels of oil per day; and
* Allow development of our nation’s shale oil resources, which could provide an additional 2.5 million barrels of oil per day

First off, we opened the vast majority of our deep water ocean resources to drilling two years ago and oil prices doubled (see “Offshore drilling raises oil prices*“).

Second, according to the Bush administration’s own energy analysts ending the federal moratorium on coastal drilling would add perhaps 150,000 barrels of oil per day in the 2020s and have no impact on prices through 2030, unless, as seems likely, California blocks drilling off its coast, in which case it would add well under 100,000 barrels of oil per day in the 2020s (see “The cruel offshore-drilling hoax“).

Third, opening up the “Arctic coastal plain” (GOP-speak for Arctic National Wildlife Refuge) would also have no impact on prices, according to the Bush administration’s own energy analysts (see “Opening ANWR cuts gas prices TWO cents in 2025“).

Fourth, you can’t develop U.S. shale in environmentally sound ways (see Senate GOP: “balance” = climate-destroying shale, RNC: “balance” = “a climate in crisis”).

Yet Republican leader John Boehner, Republican Whip Roy Blunt, Conference Chairman Adam Putnam, and Chief Deputy Whip Eric Cantor still have the chutzpah to write:

For their part, all Democratic leaders have offered is the same empty rhetoric and failed policies that have resulted in $4 gas.

Well that would be an accurate statement if you changed the word “Democratic” to “Republican.” Here is the whole memo:

MEMORANDUM

TO: House Republicans

FR: Republican Leader John Boehner, Republican Whip Roy Blunt, Conference Chairman Adam Putnam, Chief Deputy Whip Eric Cantor

DA: July 22, 2008

RE: House Republicans demand a vote on American-made energy now

American families continue to be crushed by high gas prices, and they are looking for leadership from Washington. House Republicans have stepped forward with meaningful solutions that will increase the supply of American-made energy, lower gas prices and promote energy independence. For their part, all Democratic leaders have offered is the same empty rhetoric and failed policies that have resulted in $4 gas.

Over the last two months, House Republicans have proposed solution after legislative solution to America]s energy crisis, including expanded deep water and Arctic coastal plain exploration, and increased investment in next-generation alternative and renewable energies. It is truly an ‘all-of-the-above’ energy strategy. House Republicans have aggressively carried this national dialogue forward and offered meaningful solutions that will lower gas prices. The American people are listening, and the plan is attracting bipartisan support in Congress.

Democrats in charge of Congress, however, are charting a very different course. While gas prices soar and Americans cry out for action, this Democratic Congress has refused to take meaningful action to help lower gas prices and promote energy independence, and it¹s on track to become the least productive Congress in 25 years. The American people are demanding action, and time is running short.

This week, House Republicans will introduce our ‘all-of-the-above’ energy plan in a single piece of legislation that increases the supply of American-made energy, improves conservation and efficiency, and promotes new and expanding technologies.

To increase the supply American-made energy in environmentally sound ways, the legislation will:

* Open our deep water ocean resources, which will provide an additional 3 million barrels of oil per day;

* Open the Arctic coastal plain, which will provide an additional 1 million barrels of oil per day; and

* Allow development of our nation¹s shale oil resources, which could provide an additional 2.5 million barrels of oil per day

To improve energy conservation and efficiency, the legislation will:

* Provide tax incentives for businesses and families that purchase more fuel efficient vehicles;

* Provide a monetary prize for being the first to develop an economically feasible, super-fuel-efficient vehicle (reaching 100 miles-per-gallon); and

* Provide tax incentives for businesses and homeowners who improve their energy efficiency.

To promote new and expanding energy technologies, the legislation will:

* Spur the development of alternative fuels, including through government contracting, the repeal of the “Section 526″ prohibition on government purchasing of alternative energy and promoting coal-to-liquids technology.

* Establishes a renewable energy trust fund using revenues generated by exploration in the deep ocean and in the Arctic coastal plain.

* Permanently extends the tax credit for alternative energy production, including wind, solar and hydrogen; and

* Eliminate barriers to the expansion of carbon-free nuclear power production.

This legislation will demonstrate to the world that America will no longer keep its rich energy resources under lock-and-key. It will be a landmark step toward energy independence, and it will make needed investments in the alternative fuels that will power our lives and our economy in the future.

Numerous independent polls show the American people strongly support this approach to our energy crisis. It would clearly garner the support of a bipartisan majority of Democrats and Republicans in Congress, and it is legislation that the President would sign into law. Yet House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) continues to stand in the way of lower gas prices for struggling families and small businesses. When asked last week whether she would schedule a vote on meaningful legislation to increase American energy production, the Speaker told CNN, “I have no plans to do so.”

The Democratic leadership in Congress is defying the will of the American people and a bipartisan majority in Congress. American families are suffering. Time is running short, and further inaction can no longer be tolerated.

House Republicans will stand together beginning today and demand that the Democratic leadership hold a vote on this legislation to increase American-made energy before Congress adjourns for the month of August. On Wednesday, all House Republicans assemble on the West Front Steps at approximately 1pm to unveil our legislation and publicly demand the up-or-down vote the American people deserve. You will be contacted shortly to become an original co-sponsor of this vital legislation.

We will use every option at our disposal to force a vote on the “all of the above” energy plan. America’s energy future should not be held hostage to the whims of radical special-interest groups that support higher gas prices.

If Speaker Pelosi and her liberal colleagues in the Democratic leadership continue to defy the will of the American people, they do so at their own peril.

The House GOP has defied the will of the public on energy efficiency, renewable energy wind, photovoltaics, baseload solar thermal, and fuel economy standards since the Gingrich revolution.

They now offer “false hope, failed policies, and eco-havoc” aka “all of the above.”

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14 Responses to House GOP offers Americans false hope, failed policies, and eco-havoc — will the media bite?

  1. Paul K says:

    And the Democratic proposal is? As usual, nothing. While Reid and Pelosi dither over the unpassable and unsignable, Republicans reflect the people’s will.

  2. john says:

    Paul, are you on drugs? If not, perhaps you should be. Yes I suppose that’s an ad hominem attack, and therefore not very constructive but jeez man, you’re so out there.

    Who blocked higher fuel mileage standards?
    Who blocked clean energy subsidies?
    Who invaded the country with the second biggest reserves?

    Hint: It wasn’t the Dems.

    If we’d listened to Jimmy Carter (D) we’d be import free.

    Obama’s proposal plan would help to get us off oil — to make it irrelevant, by moving to PHEVs, cutting oil subsidies, extending clean energy tax credits — you know, real solutions.

    The Republican plan is to tell the American people bald faced lies, and attempt to make a political gain out the of the lies, while they lay prostate before their oil lords.

    By the way, rational policies are unpassable and unsignable because Republicans block votes and threaten vetoes.

    Get real, Paul. It’s OK to be a Republican, I guess, but it’s not OK to back them when they’re wrong, immoral, untruthful or otherwise unethical — which, unfortunately, seems to be most of the time for the last 7.5 years.
    That’s probably why they’re turning into the incredible shrinking Party — you can’t fool all the people all the time, as a famous Republican once said.

  3. John Hollenberg says:

    Gotta agree with John here, except for one small point:

    > while they lay prostate before their oil lords.

    We haven’t (quite) had to lay out our prostates yet, but I think the oil rich countries do have us by another part of the male anatomy :-)

  4. Tom G says:

    A few kernels, but most of it is just fish bait.

  5. red says:

    It sounds, at least from the brief description in the memo, like a number of provisions in the bill would fit nicely with some of the efforts Climate Progress promotes, like wind, solar, and fuel efficient vehicles and buildings. A number of the other provisions have been depicted here as red herrings, but not in and of themselves greatly harmful to energy independence or the climate. So … why not sit down at the negotiation table, negotiate away the parts you see as actually harmful, give them the red herrings, and negotiate in some progress? Who cares what Republicans have and haven’t supported in the past? The point is whether or not useful steps can be made now.

    Prediction: This bill is going to sound very good to the voters paying $4 for gas. You need some kind of counter offer that’s useful in achieving your goals while also sounding good to that same voter.

  6. Andy says:

    If all of the Republican’s proposals were adopted America’s energy crisis would come to an end. Not because of more drilling, but because of more conservation and the proliferation of cheap, sustainable energy. The Republicans can’t lose as long as the press refuses to expose these sorts of shenanigans.

    What it all comes down to is allowing the oil companies to make a lot more money. Open everything to drilling and the oil companies can then cherry pick the most profitable deposits. Who cares if it solves our energy crisis. It’s really no different than when the Republicans backed a plan that would have allowed timber companies to cut the last old growth on our National Forests. Back in the 1980′s when the last of the Pacific NW old growth was coming under the saw; we had a choice, either leave some big trees for the future or get a few more years of big profits before finding something else to build our homes with.

    BTW: Here is a columnist at the Houston Chronicle who claims wind energy is the most highly subsidized way of generation. Loren Steffy wrote continuously during the recent wind energy conference in Houston about how it is such a poor way of generation. He specifically mentions a recent study from the University of North Texas which claims wind energy receives 70 million in government subsidies for every 100 million of private investment. Surely some of this is the $4.00 fee we now pay to build new transmission lines from west Texas. Of course all of our transmission lines were originally built and paid for by an industry that at the time was a government protected monopoly.

    Hmmmmm. Save the world for $4.00 a month added to a $150 electric bill or burn it all to hell? Tough choice.

    Heard of this study?

    http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/business/steffy/5896507.html

  7. paulm says:

    Surprise surprise, Bush is planing to go out on a flare!

    Lets see how hot the planet can get and how many species we can wipe out.

  8. Paul K says:

    As you know, my view is that the changeover to 21st Century energy and efficiency is necessary, somewhat inevitable, and that it is the job of the people to make sure it happens as quickly and profitably as possible. I believe that a McCain presidency will produce a more rapid deployment than would an Obama one. Therefore, those who vote on climate issues alone should choose McCain.

    Of course, very few voters will be climate only. Most will vote because of the economy or the war. It will continue to frustrate Democrats that Republicans have the upper hand on the energy issue. The Democratic leadership in both houses knows the Republican bills would pass if brought to the floor. A majority of Americans favor a more aggressive use of our own resources. The people understand energy independence.

    The Republicans do not ignore efficiency. The Republican Senate bill contains unprecedented support for plug-in hybrid deployment. That’s 21st Century efficiency that makes 20th Century Cafe regulations irrelevant. Think in terms of where we’ll be in 2040. By then the automotive fleet will be almost all plug-in or EV. All new energy production will be non fossil. This will actually happen much sooner.

    McCain will get increasing support for his policy of maintaining affordable energy while wholeheartedly transitioning to carbon free energy.

  9. Andy says:

    My comparison to oil drilling to chopping down old growth forest is apt. Despite what the press regurgitates on a constant basis, oil and gas development often destroys the environment.

    There are many good studies gathering dust on USFWS’s shelves that detail the destruction of oil development on Alaska’s north slope despite the industry’s assurance that all is well and that their development footprint will melt away, like their ice roads, each spring. The roads and pads for producing wells as well as the pads for facilities, are built on gravel mined from local rivers. Many, many miles of rivers have been turned into linear gravel pits causing massive, irrepairable habitat damage and loss of fisheries. Nesting bird numbers were cut in half, 50% declines, in oil producing areas due to increased nest predation and human disturbance (everything nests on the ground up there – no trees). Disturbance from aircraft, especially helicopters, has caused massive abandonment by sensitive birds such as geese and brant of oil producing and oil exploration regions.

    Here in Texas and on the Chenier Plain of Louisiana, oil production through fluid and gas extraction has caused subsidence and thus very large amounts of coastal wetland loss through submergence of marshland. It is the number one causation of coastal wetland loss in Texas, for example 15,000 acres of tidal marsh and cypress swamp submerged around the Texaco field near Beaumont alone. Not to mention the losses to wetland caused by pipeline construction and navigation channels.

    Unless the oil can be magically made to rise out of the ground of its own volition and float away to the refineries; those folks in Florida are damn smart to say “Hell No” to the oil industry. I’m sure plenty of those folks drive down I-10 through Louisiana and Texas and say to themselves, “Never, Never, Never in my lifetime will I submit to this”.

    And then there’s the destruction being wrought by the coal bed methane boom out west. Large areas of what was just 10 years ago prime wildlife habitat are simply becoming gas production sacrifice zones.

    And yet, I read over and over that the only thing that concerns those crazy environmentalists are oil spills and those don’t happen any more so this is all just a war of words. That’s BS! When will the press get a clue?

  10. jorleh says:

    Why not use the potential energy of the Greenland and Antarctic ice masses? Are they stupid, these people? Seems like that. Those ice masses are melting away, why not make electrical energy and fresh water for all the world instead?

    One cubic kilometer down three kilometers and generators turn 10 Twh and you ship the ice to the dry areas for fresh water. Rather simple.

  11. Ronald says:

    The questions should be asked, ‘what do we get out of closing off areas of offshore to oil drilling?’

    ‘Is what we get out of closing off areas of offshore to oil drilling worth the political capitol this is costing.’

    It’s time democrates open up the offshore areas to oil drilling and ANWR also. It’s not worth the political pain. Many of these areas will be closed off by the nearest states anyway. It will show good faith that those things that need to be done to reduce global warming and increases in greenhouse gases is not about control, but it is to solve a legitimate problem. If you believe the reports that it will take many years to get drilling rigs to these areas and these oil rigs will only pump 100 000 barrels a day anyway, what’s the worry about the drilling, it won’t be that extensive anyway.

    There are bigger problems that need to be solved that offshore drilling and ANWR. It’s a distraction more than a help to the real solutions that we need to attack. A hundred years from now, or the next 50 generations, will those generations ask us ‘did you stop offshore drilling’ or will they ask us ‘did you stop global warming.’ We have to pick our battles better.

  12. John Hollenberg says:

    > The questions should be asked, ‘what do we get out of closing off areas of offshore to oil drilling?’

    No, the question should be:

    What do we get out of opening these offshore areas to oil drilling?

    1) Unacceptable risk of environmental damage (that’s why it will never happen in California)
    2) Pretending we are doing something about oil prices, when it won’t make any difference (even McCain said it was a “psychological” help)
    3) Focus of attention away from real solutions

  13. red says:

    “What do we get out of opening these offshore areas to oil drilling?

    1) Unacceptable risk of environmental damage (that’s why it will never happen in California)
    2) Pretending we are doing something about oil prices, when it won’t make any difference (even McCain said it was a “psychological” help)
    3) Focus of attention away from real solutions”

    Numbers 2 and 3 may be true if all you do is agree to opening those areas to offshore oil drilling. However, if the approach you take is to use it as a bargaining chip to get the things you want, and you don’t agree to it unless you get enough of those things to make it worth it, then it serves a useful purpose, quite the opposite of numbers 2 and 3.

    I think Ronald addresses #1.

    The more general point is that people, and politicians, that believe global warming is a threat can’t expect those that don’t to make most of the sacrifices, whether financial or political. If anything, you’d expect such interests, if they truly are serious about the problem and not simply grabbing power, to bend over backwards to compromise in other, less critical, areas in order to achieve real climate progress. I just don’t see it happening.

  14. BlueGreen says:

    One or two good ideas and the rest is tripe. I don’t expect more than that out of Boehner though. As for McCain, he’s a fine man and a good American, but as a presidential candidate he is a blithering idiot. He is nothing more than Bush lite, especially on energy policy (insert any polcy actually).

    Most of these suggestion from Boehner (many of which McCain is on board with) will be insufficient at best and lead to another 911 type crisis as an excuse for invading Iran or Venezuela in 2011 or 2012 to get their oil too (see recent Iraqi/U.S. Oil company deal). Especially after oil shale and coal gasification and carbon sequestration are proven to be technologically, and/or economically infeasible and unscalable.

    The single nuclear power sentence is especially disturbing and sends me over the edge. Anyone reading this site want Yucca Mountains 2 and 3 in their backyard to store the nuclear waste from 50-100 nuclear power plants for 500,000 years and a few hundred billion dollars? Anyone want to spend $10 billiion on each one and wait 8-12 years for it to just begin to pay back the energy required to build it? Geez!!!

    If the Republicans get serious about true alternative/carbon free energy like solar, wind, geothermal, and wave; and also about conservation technologies, I will listen. I would like nothing better than to be wrong but I think it will be a long wait.

    BTW – Negotiation implies two parties giving and taking to reach common ground. The Decider went back on his campaign promise in 2001 and began bludgeoning all opposition relentlessly (and many times illegally) to get his way until his legacy started haunting him late last year. Now he wants to at least give the appearance of playing nice and negotiating in fairness. Thanks God there are only 149 days until 01/20/2009!