Hey, we didn’t say it. House Resources chair Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA) did.
Yesterday, while Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA) was talking up the new energy bill’s hydrogen fuel subsidies at a crowded Capitol Hill news conference, Rep. Pombo turned to House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO) and whispered, “This is bulls — t.” (A CNN journalist happened to be within earshot.)
Pombo later explained his comment. President Bush’s plan to spend $2 billion developing hydrogen-fueled cars is “not a short-term solution because we just don’t have the technology to produce it,” he said, adding that the promised vehicles are “multimillion-dollar prototypes that nobody’s going to buy.”
And Pombo’s actually right. Sure, hydrogen will be an important energy source down the road. But making fuel-cell technology the focus of our sustainable energy policy “means having to wait 15 to 20 years to produce cleaner cars and wean the country off of oil,” according to the National Resources Defense Council.
Our environmental problems are serious and growing now. And while President Bush trumpets the long-term gains of hydrogen, he’s actually reducing investment in clean technologies that already exist, sopping the profit-flushed fossil fuel industries with billions in subsidies, and actively opposing efforts to make today’s cars and trucks cleaner and more fuel-efficient.
And does Rep. Pombo’s whispered aside suggest some hidden enviro sensibility? Nope. When he’s not cursing out other people’s non-solutions to today’s energy problems, Pombo acts as a “key proponent of drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.”