Bush Energy Bill
By Carolyn Westmoreland
everyone. Since this will be my first appearance here in the Tule
Times I'd like to briefly introduce myself. I've been invited
to write for this column occasionally, and I'm excited and pleased
to have such an opportunity. I live in Strathmore, and I've recently
retired from a health-related profession. I'm concerned, as I'm
sure most of you are too, about our environment. In the future
I'd like to comment on food and health issues that may be occurring
from the failing health of the environment we live in.
I'd like to discuss the
Energy Bill that was just two votes short of the 60 votes
needed to end debate and move on to a final vote. Discussion on
this bill will not be brought up again until next year, but it
may be as soon as next January.
on this Energy bill could fill a good-sized book. So, with limited
space here, I will touch on just a few parts of this bill that
concern me the most. I have provided links on our web site to
good information from several sources.
$31 Billion dollar bill, also known as the Energy Policy Act of
2003, H.R. 6, was supposed to provide Americans with less dependence
on foreign oil, and it was touted to be an overhaul of outdated
thing that irks me is that this bill was crafted
behind closed doors. Vice President Dick Cheney and his Energy
Task Force spent 71 days in secret negotiations with the Republicans
in the House and Senate, completely
shutting Democrats out of the process. Democrats were not
even given enough time to study the bill before voting on it.
It seems to me that an energy bill, a bill that will have an impact
on everyone living in the US, and all over our planet for that
matter, should have been put together with input from all quarters.
Environmental scientists should have been sitting at the table
as well as members of the energy industry. In all of my reading
I can not find any indication that this happened.
came out from behind those closed doors is incredible. We see
$300 million going toward renewable energy production incentives
for solar, wind, geothermal, biomass and other renewables. But
this same bill proposes $600 million a year for the Department
of Energy's fossil fuel program for coal based research, and $1.8
billion for the Secretary of Energy to carry out the Clean Coal
Power Initiative. It mandates that at least 60% of the $1.8 billion
in funding will be used for projects on coal based technology
that meets stringent environmental performance standards. But
that leaves 40% of the coal technology being funded without the
performance standards applied. This is important because mercury
is released when coal is burned to produce power. According to
the EPA mercury can permanently damage or fatally injure the brain
and kidneys. Burning coal and using mercury in manufacturing have
increased toxic levels in the atmosphere, soil, our oceans, lakes
and rivers. Have you seen the mercury warnings regarding the consumption
of fish? Most human beings are walking around right now with mercury
in their systems.
did our administration just put a token amount into clean alternatives,
fail to address global warming at all, and leave us more than
ever committed to a fossil fuel economy?
I've noted above is just one, very small, example of what this
Energy Bill contains.
I haven't mentioned are some of the following:
$30 billion in tax breaks and subsidies for energy special
2. Subsidies for
the nuclear industry.
lawsuit shield protecting producers of the toxic fuel additive,
MTBE, from liability lawsuits, forcing taxpayers to pick up
an estimated $29 billion to clean up contaminated groundwater.
(MTBE is water soluable, so it easily gets into ground water and
from there into our food. It has recently been found in leafy
green vegetables grown here in CA.)
is not too late to send letters
to the House and Senate regarding this bill. They need to
hear how voters feel after reading about what is in this bill
and what has been left out.
you have a computer, please visit progressivewritersbloc.com
and follow the links to more in-depth information.