The “April Fools” Republican budget would keep America on the Bush-Cheney path of paying fossil fuel polluters to burn up the planet. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee, sketched out their plan to continue Bush-era policies in the Wall Street Journal:
Our budget lays a firm foundation to position the U.S. to meet three important strategic energy goals: reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil, deploying more clean and renewable energy sources free of greenhouse gas, and supporting economic growth. We do these things by rejecting the president’s cap-and-trade scheme, by opening exploration on our nation’s oil and gas fields, and by investing the proceeds in a new clean energy trust fund, infrastructure and further deficit reduction.
Now I feel like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. Their “firm foundation” is just rehashed talking points from George W. Bush, who similarly promised year after year (after year after year after year after year after year) to reduce our dependence on foreign oil:
Rejecting Cap-and-Trade. In 2007, the Bush White House threatened to veto the Lieberman-Warner cap and trade bill as “bad legislation” that “would raise fuel prices and raise taxes on Americans” and “demand drastic emissions cuts that have no chance of being realized.”
Opening Oil And Gas Exploration. Under Bush, the United States opened the floodgates to domestic drilling, increasing the number of permits issued each year by the federal government increased by more than 361 percent. From 2004 to 2007, the Bureau of Land Management issued 28,776 permits to drill on public land, ten thousand more than the number of wells actually drilled. The only result? Record profits for oil and gas companies at the expense of American farmers and ranchers. Meanwhile, gas prices exploded and our dependence on foreign oil rose to record highs.
Clean Energy Trust Fund. Bush established a cornucopia of “clean energy” initiatives, including the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership for “clean nuclear,” Future Gen for “clean coal,” the International Partnership for the Hydrogen Economy, and the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate. Under the cover of these voluntary programs, Bush slashed funds for renewable energy, blocked energy efficiency standards, and even killed off FutureGen’s attempt to make coal less dangerous.
Like Bush, the House GOP is lying to the public while relying on the goodwill of industry, showered with subsidies, to reduce pollution. In reality, even well-designed voluntary agreements (VAs) between government and industry to reduce catastrophic pollution don’t work. As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change explains, “there is little evidence that VAs have achieved significant reductions in emissions beyond business as usual (high agreement/much evidence).”
In the recent past, the Republican Party failed to offer the nation an inspiring vision and a concrete plan to tackle our problems with innovative and principled solutions. We do not intend to repeat that mistake.
Newt Gingrich’s American Solutions for Winning the Future (ASWF) is joining in the Groundhog Day / April Fool’s fun, with a new campaign to tell Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar to go back to the “drill baby drill” approach to offshore drilling.