Saturday, May 19, 2007

Republican's Two Year Old Energy Strategy Already Outdated

At least that's the message from a Texas Senator in today's Standard Times. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison’s column should have been titled “U.S. Needs Newer New Energy Strategy” given the Republican passed July 2005 Energy Bill. Kay voted yea on the measure yet she could only recall the nuclear energy component in her missive. Her “yea” helped give $6 billion in oil and gas subsidies while rolling back regulatory restrictions. It included $9 billion in coal subsidies, $12 billion toward nuclear energy, and nearly $2 billion for electricity producers.

Two years after setting this new energy policy the Senator wants to accomplish the same goals, an increase in domestic production of oil, gas, coal and alternative resources. Has the policy not worked? Did all those billions amount to nothing? Did the token benefits for individual citizens not change behavior?

She mentioned America’s energy policy as stuck in the era of bell bottom pants and platform shoes. Were they in style two years ago? She says Congress must act, the question is on what? President Bush said he favored eliminating the $6 billion in oil and gas subsidies but I’ve seen no action on this front. The Senator closed her column with the need “to provide affordable energy for our families and businesses”. It sounded a familiar refrain given the title of the energy industry giveaway in 2005: “A bill to ensure jobs for our future with secure, affordable, and reliable energy.”

We all know from our personal pocketbooks, what happened between Kay’s yea vote and today. Oil companies reaped record profits quarter after quarter while citizens pay record high gas prices. As for Alaska, British Petroleum indicated their drive to maximize profits caused them to decrease maintenance on their Prudhoe Bay pipeline. This belies Kay’s assertion of clean operations.

She failed to mention her lifetime top twenty donor record which includes Enron, Exxon Mobile, TXU, Valero Energy, Shell Oil, El Paso Corp. A law firm came in 20th, Bracewell and Guiliani (previously Patterson), recently cited by the New York Times as representing major oil, gas and electricity companies. A number of her other top twenty donors recently shared Dover Sole with Queen Elizabeth at a Presidential White Tie dinner. It makes me wonder, “Whose side is Kay really on?”

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