Wednesday, September 28th, the House approved
two bills, the “Gasoline for America’s Security Act of 2005”
and the “National Energy Supply Diversification and Disruption
Prevention Act.” Ostensibly, these gallantly titled pieces
of legislation address the gasoline supply problem left
in the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. In fact, the
sponsors of these acts are using the hurricanes as an excuse
to further subsidize oil and gas companies at the expense
of the environment and the American tax payers.
report of the Gasoline for America bill starts out quite
reasonably. The main impetuses are stated plainly, and are
hard to argue:
you lost me. For one thing, this is an opinion stated as
fact. Okay, the other two statements were also opinions,
but I agree with them. Or do I? Come to think of
it, maybe it serves the national interest better to move
away from oil as an energy source. Maybe six-dollar a gallon
gasoline will make people rethink the “evils” of conservation.
Maybe it serves the national interest for oil companies
not to post new record profits every single quarter,
especially in the face of the nation’s worst crisis in history.
Republicans don’t see it that way. Both of these bills provide
not only incentives – for example loosening federal rules
that limit pollution when refineries (or coal-fired power
plants) are expanded – but include demands that will
push these efforts forward. One point in case; within 90
days of the passing of this act, the President is required
to provide a list of sites on Federal lands appropriate
for locating a refinery. (ANWR baby, just lie back and think
course if the goal truly was to protect American oil supplies,
then it might make sense to take such an aggressive approach.
Protect the supply chain and all that. All of this might
seem less disingenuous were it not being spearheaded by
Texas oilman – I mean Republican, Joe Barton, and California
Republican Richard Pombo.
Barton, Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee,
is a Republican from Texas. Need more be said?
In case any optimists are reading this, please allow me
to disabuse you. The oil and gas industries have given Barton
nearly a quarter of a million dollars in campaign financing.
Other industries which will benefit from a rollback of Clean
Air Act deadlines have contributed a reported $700,000.
He has been called Delay’s right hand man, along with other
things like “whore” and “asshole.”
has been named a close associate of DeLay. As Chair of the
House Resources Committee, Pombo has for years been seeking
major revisions to numerous environmental regulations, especially
the Endangered Species Act. He represents an area of California
that could benefit from development, much of which has been
impeded by those damn rare animals. Can’t they just fuck
reworking of the Endangered Species Act, ironically titled
the “Threatened and Endangered Species Recovery Act,” has
been denounced by Democrats and a number of commercial and
sport fishing groups, as well as the predictable and therefore
the Endangered Species Act can use some revision. The old
“shoot, shovel and shut up” adage came in response to the
law’s inflexibility toward landowners, and compensating
them when land can’t be developed is an idea with merit.
But revisions should be approached with reason and integrity;
we can’t let the cannibals decide what to do with the hostage.
new bill smacks of the same deregulation to serve special-interest
groups, only dressed up in a suit of good will for the American
public. The proposals put forth by the two House committees,
working into the night to protect Americans from the perils
of expensive foreign oil, actually appeared in the original
drafts of the energy bill passed over the summer.
Congress excluded them, deeming them too extreme for their
already controversial bill. This fact is as damning as the
Downing Street memo, and will probably get the same response:
a nationwide yawn.
we’ve all forgotten that at the beginning of the summer,
news outlets were predicting that gasoline would reach three
dollars a gallon and never come down. This was well before
Katrina was even a glimmer in Mother Nature’s eye. Just
as Iraq was a war waiting for a reason, this gutting of
environmental regulation was planned well in advance. The
hurricanes have merely provided a convenient scapegoat.
I guess we should be glad; otherwise they might have had
to hire some hairy olive-skinned guy to blow up a refinery
in the name of Allah.