Thursday, August 28, 2008

Who Killed The Electric Alternatives?

I have a “conspiracy theory” too.

I suspect that the fossil fuel industry has done everything within their power to hold back the development of sustainable energy, energy independence, and conservation. In addition to using a number of other dirty tricks, I suspect that they have manipulated politics and markets to create boom and bust cycles that have repeatedly devastated the alternative energy market.

And I suspect that they are at it again.

We are getting close to the end of this Congress' session. And still there is no extension of the clean energy tax breaks. If this doesn't happen, the demand for wind and solar energy will dry up dramatically. This will mean the loss of up to 115,000 sustainable energy jobs and the collapse of many sustainable energy companies. America doesn't want this. So why is the Senate at it again?

Why would the Senate give the (quite profitable) fossil fuel industry 18 billion dollars in subsidies and deny 1.7 billion dollars in tax incentives to the developing sustainable energy industry? Not because its the right thing to do – by any means.

For decades now, our tax dollars have gone to jack up the (now obscene) profits of the oil and coal industry. While, for some reason, there just hasn't always been enough to help out the development of sustainable industries we critically need in the long run.

Republicans within the Senate have used the filibuster approximately a hundred times this year (an all-time record by far) to bring legislation to a standstill. They have killed every energy bill that has come to the Senate without there ever being a vote... Why? Could it be that some Republican Senators don't want energy legislation? That's what they've achieved. And why are some Senate Republicans only willing to support off shore drilling? This is effectively the deconstruction of environmental laws that protect our coastal waters. That's not an energy policy. That's just giving the oil industry anything it wants.

(If the Republicans really wanted to drop the prices of oil, they would support the release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserves. This act is historically proven to drop oil prices dramatically immediately – not “maybe a little” 10 to 15 years from now.)

Without an energy bill passed this session, which will likely end in October, renewable energy's tax credit will expire at the end of the year. This has also happened in 2003, 2001, and 1999. Previously, when these tax credits expired, wind turbine installations fell as much as 93%! And these lapses have been happening since the 80's.

I am finding it harder and harder to believe that this isn't a conspiracy. These lapses aren't oversights. This isn't laziness. These filibusters aren't even standoffs due to differences of opinion.

Some Republican Senators are blocking everything except offshore drilling for oil.

Face it: Effectively, these Republicans are saying that everything is just fine with our present energy policy. Effectively, these Republicans are saying they don't want sustainable energy. Effectively, these Republicans are responding to their big campaign contributors – big oil corporations, big power companies, big coal corporations, and big domestic car manufacturers. Effectively, these Republicans don't give a damn about us or our future.

Why does this story sound so much like a conspiracy to keep us slaves to the fossil fuel industries? And why hasn't the press covered this? Could it have something to do with all those millions in advertising money the mass media keeps getting from the fossil fuel industry?

Oh, by the way; a new Republican generated federal regulation makes it easier to build coal-fired power plants near national parks – without having to do a thing to clean up their act.

What planet are these Republicans from? Apparently, not this one, because they don't seem to think they'll have to breath our air – or deal with our climate change.

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