WASHINGTON -- April 20 -- In a speech in Washington today, President Bush is expected to trot out the same, outdated, last-century energy policies mirrored in the House Energy Bill likely to be voted on tomorrow. Why is it that everyone except Congress and the administration has figured out that there are better solutions out there that can create millions of jobs, protect our wild places, and make America safer and more secure? The week of Earth Day would be an excellent occasion for Congress and the President to let go of the past and take a look at the present, existing technologies that will solve our energy problems.
The President and leaders in Congress have said time after time that they want a balanced energy policy that lowers energy prices, creates jobs, and cuts America's oil dependence. Sadly, the energy bill before the House is not that plan. Even the Bush administration's own Department of Energy has said that last year's nearly identical energy bill would do nothing to lower gas prices or lower America's imports of foreign oil.
The message must be clear to President Bush and Congressional Leaders: America will not forget that when decisive action on energy was critical, they chose to enrich their friends rather than pursue the best interests of American families. Instead of seizing this opportunity to put American on a Clean Energy path, the House Leadership has turned away a slew of bipartisan amendments that would have allowed members to vote to put stronger energy efficiency and renewable energy provisions into the bill, addressed energy-based global warming, and reduced the billions in giveaways to some of the most profitable companies in the world. Instead, the House Rules Committee shielded its members from having to vote on key issues that would address energy supply and price issues on behalf of American families.
The Bush-DeLay plan is a vast wish-list for the Exxon-Mobiles of the world, masquerading as a genuine effort to address our national energy quagmire. It opens up our coasts and special places, like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, to oil development; lets big business polluters off the hook for cleaning up the messes they make; and funnels billions of dollars in subsidies to outdated dirty industries like coal, oil and nuclear power. In the House tax title alone, there are $7 spent on dirty, conventional energy sources for every dollar spent on clean energy. That is anything but balanced. At a time when energy companies are making record profits -- Exxon-Mobil, for example made a record $134 billion in profits (up 218%) last year on high oil prices -- why is Congress funneling billions of taxpayer dollars to these same industries? The energy bill would also weaken our Clean Air and Clean Water Acts, and would even end MTBE (a gasoline additive found to pollute drinking water) manufacturers responsibility for cleanup contaminated water supplies, burdening local communities with a $30 billion cleanup cost.
It's time to re-energize America with a smarter, safer, cleaner, and cheaper energy policy. We can light and heat our homes with safer, cleaner wind or solar power. We have the technology to make all cars go 40 miles per gallon within ten years, saving more oil than the U.S. currently imports from the Persian Gulf or could ever take from the National Wildlife Refuge, combined. We can improve the energy efficiency of our homes, businesses and appliances - putting money in our wallets and keeping the environment clean. We can protect our children from the air pollution that spews from cars and power plants. We can protect our coasts and the wildlands left to us for safekeeping. All we need now is leaders who will put people ahead of corporations and act now to create a legacy that we will be proud to leave our children.