GOP to Dems: Solve energy crisis by next week

Next up in the Republican “blame the Dems for flawed energy policy” spin machine (drum roll, please) — H.R. 6566, the American Energy Act, which the House Republican Conference Web site says is all about “Reducing the Price at the Pump through an ‘All of the Above’ Energy Strategy.”

On Wednesday, 84 members of the Republican caucus gathered to support a packaged solution to the nation’s energy woes drafted by prime sponsor House minority leader Rep. John Boehner. And they demanded that Democrats allow an up-or-down vote on the bill before the August recess begins.

Howzat for Republican provision of careful, thoughtful deliberation on perhaps the most vexing issue the nation faces (a few wars notwithstanding)?

The GOP used this bill to drag in all its earlier measures that have gone nowhere.

• from H.R. 6108: a demand to “open deep water ocean resources, which will provide an additional three million barrels of oil per day, as well as 76 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.”
• H.R. 6107: a proposal to “open the Arctic coastal plain, which will provide an additional one million barrels of oil per day.”
• H.R. 6138: a proposal to “allow development of our nation’s shale oil resources, which could provide an additional 2.5 million barrels of oil per day.”
• H.R. 6139: a proposal to “increase the supply of gas at the pump by cutting bureaucratic red tape that essentially blocks construction of new refineries.”
• H.R. 1618, H.R. 765 and H.R. 778: proposals to “provide tax incentives for businesses and homeowners who improve their energy efficiency.”
• H.R. 6384: a proposal to “provide a monetary prize for developing the first economically feasible, super-fuel-efficient vehicle reaching 100 miles-per-gallon (sic).”
• H.R. 765: a proposal to “provide tax incentives for businesses and families that purchase more fuel efficient vehicles.”

And there’s more. The bill, again from earlier measures, seeks development of alternative fuels through government contracting, establishment of a renewable energy trust fund using revenues generated by oceanic and Arctic exploration, extension of tax credits for alternative energy production, and (drum roll for the biggie here) elimination of barriers to the expansion of emission-free nuclear power production.

The Republicans want all that? By the beginning of August recess? And an up-or-down vote (I hate that phrase) without full and comprehensive hearings?

And the GOP is selling this with flawed PR. The Republican Conference Web site’s energy section dedicated to this bill contains several deceptive charts, such as this one:

This is the same basic chart sent to me last month by my congressman in a franked mailing labeled “Energy Report.” Many Republican members of Congress used it, too. But it’s inelegant, inaccurate and laced with hidden assumptions, which I detailed earlier. My congressman used this data to tout the GOP’s “The No More Excuses Energy Act,” H.R. 3089 — another bill that went nowhere.

Now here’s my favorite chart offered by the GOP. Over the chart is this copy: “Gas Price Increase during the Democrat Congress: A 74% Price Increase since January 1, 2007.”

This is absurd. The size of the blue color (Republicans) implies that the GOP has kept gasoline prices low while it held power in the House. The black (there’s that fear factor again) shows that gasoline prices shot up when the Dems took power after the mid-term elections. Yet this chart is limited to price increases since 2001, implying that no other GOP-induced factors or actions from before that time had any impact whatsoever on energy costs. That’s a preposterous and simplistic analysis designed solely to blame Democrats rather than reveal true understanding of a complex issue.

The GOP conference Web site also displays a chart that uses a vibrant red color to tell Americans what’s off limits to oil exploration and recovery. Howzat for thoughtful consideration of an issue?

The decision to drill in offshore waters or parts of the Arctic is environmentally and economically complicated (and not just in ANWR; geologists just reported that three years’ worth of world supply rests under the Arctic). Yet the GOP demands that the issue be resolved in the next week.

It’s an election year. The GOP is driving the “pain at the pump” theme hard to win votes. But the nation’s energy problems require far more than bipartisan bickering about which energy bills are best for what purpose. The Democrats are not without fault here, either. That’s another topic for another time.

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  2. You beat me to it, Denny.

    It’s interesting that the protesters were ready for this one in advance:

    Protesters Overrun GOP Event
    July 23, 2008, 3:43 p.m.By Jennifer Bendery
    Roll Call Staff

    House Republican leaders were caught off guard Wednesday afternoon when,
    during the official unveiling of their “all-of-the-above” energy package,
    some 200 protesters showed up with pre-printed signs and in costumes to boo
    the proposal’s call for drilling offshore and in the Arctic National
    Wildlife Refuge.

    The 15-minute GOP event on the West Capitol steps was overrun by members of
    environmental groups, including the National Wildlife Federation, the Sierra
    Club and the League of Conservation Voters.

    Protesters booed during the news conference and waved signs that read,
    “Grand Oil Party” and “Climate Action Now;” one person dressed as a polar
    bear carried the sign, “I love wilderness.”

    Michael Steel, spokesman for House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio),
    said GOP leaders hadn’t heard of the planned protest until about an hour
    before the event.

    Steel noted that there were cheers amid the boos in the crowd, and those
    were from “average Americans” who happened to be walking by and listened in.

    The fact that so many protesters were on hand shows that Democratic leaders
    “are extremely concerned” about the merits of the GOP proposal, Steel said.

    “Seventy percent of the American people understand that we need real energy
    solutions” and those include more drilling than Democrats are willing to
    support, Boehner’s spokesman said.

    But Cindy Shogan, executive director of the Alaska Wilderness League, said
    the GOP energy bill has sparked an “all hands on deck” response from the
    conservation community.

    Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is “right on target” in opposing offshore
    drilling and correct to call GOP arguments in favor of drilling in ANWR “a
    hoax,” Shogan said.

    The environmental advocate described a recent trip by House Republicans to
    the Alaskan Coastal Plain as “a sham.”

    “Not only did the group never set foot in the Arctic refuge, but Rep.
    Boehner didn’t even have the courtesy to respond to a request to meet with
    the Gwich’in people, who regard the Coastal Plain of the Arctic refuge as
    the ‘sacred place where life begins,'” Shogan said.

  3. Tell the lie. Tell it with a straight face. Lie like a $6 rug and America WILL believe it.

    That’s the Rove Doctrine, of course. The question is whether Americans are stupid enough to buy it.

  4. It’s a little silly how the latte liberal SUV crowd gets so angry when Rethugs want to drill more oil.

    Is hypocrisy no longer even understood?

    What we need is a revolution in energy production, distributed wide area production at homes and businesses. This is in direct conflict with centrally controlled produciton like oil refining and nuclear.

    But, everyone is responsible. Everyone is burning the stuff. You can’t just point a finger at Bush while you’re barelling down the freeway with $125 worth of gas in your tank.

    Well, I guess you can. A lot of good that does, however.

  5. John:

    Sounds like you’re talking about Mao’s cultural revolution — you know, a steel making factory in every back yard. If you mean it would be great if every home had cost effective and efficient solar panels hooked to the grid, I’ll agree. But I doubt that will solve all our energy issues.

    Personally, I don’t drive an SUV. Never have, never will. To the best of my knowledge, none of the other writers here do, either, but I might have missed one.

  6. “That’s the Rove Doctrine, of course. The question is whether Americans are stupid enough to buy it.”

    What do you mean “stupid enough”? Have you not been paying attention the last 8 years? Of course Americans are stupid enough. They’re also woefully uninformed.

  7. During Hurricane Katrina, and following the flooding of New Orleans, the Bush administration withheld desperately needed federal disaster relief from those dying in New Orleans, while at the same time they launched a vicious smear campaign against the Democratic governor of Louisiana, Blanco, and the Democratic mayor of New Orleans, Nagin, blaming them for the deaths and suffering of Louisianans in the aftermath of Katrina. The purpose? To force Gov. Blanco into ceding over control to the Bush administration of her state’s national guard units…and turning disaster security over to Blackwater, maybe? Note: this blackmail demand was not made of the Republican governors next door in Mississippi and Alabama…only Democrats in Louisiana were targeted.

    Now, we see a similar Republican blackmail attempt involving high, and rising, energy prices.

    Nothing that the culture of corruption Republicans are proposing will have any immediate impact on gasoline prices, which is similar to the Bush Republicans withholding federal disaster relief from the dying in New Orleans during the first deadly days following Katrina, during which, though few people realize this, the Bush Republicans also blocked rescue/relief attempts by “good Samaritan” civilians.

    In today’s oil crisis, Republicans are similarly blocking “rescue attempts” by the Democratic Party, who are proposing closing certain regulatory loopholes involving worldwide energy trading, regulatory loopholes created by anti-regulatory Republicans.

    The pattern is quite obvious…Republican Party policies will end up getting us all killed, or at the least, will cause widespread suffering, bankruptcies and a whole lot of children going to bed hungry.

    It’s time for a change. A drastic change. Kick all, or as many as possible, of these culture of corruption and deceitful Republicans out of our Congress, and out of our White House. Our nation and our nation’s children deserve much, much better leadership than anything these right-wing kooks have proposed or done.