The Senate Misses the Target on Energy

By November 9, 2005Energy

An interesting juxtaposition of articles in today’s Washington Post — both by Justin Blum, as it turns out — on energy. The one is predictable and will be mirrored by hundreds like it across America today: “Oil Executives Face Senate Scrutiny Today.” It recounts what we already noted, i.e., that the Senate will engage in some good ‘ol fashioned — and misguided — theater and finger-pointing today on the price of oil.

However, the second is even more telling. It’s entitled, “The Power of Rising Energy Prices” and it chronicles the woes of an aluminum manufacturer in Maryland. (Alcoa, featured in last Saturday’s video.) The sub-head says it all: “Soaring Costs Have Md. Aluminum Plant on the Brink.” It tells of the real-world pressures of soaring energy costs, and has a chart that shows the company’s $89 million costs for energy in 2005 expected to hit $195 million this year, noting that energy costs represent one -third the cost of aluminum production. This, of course is not oil but mostly natural gas. The plant is faced with possible shutdown, jeopardizing the well-paying jobs of 600 employees. It was just so interesting how these two stories ran juxtaposed on the same page as if they were unrelated when in fact they are inextricably linked.

So we’ll say it again: if the Senate is really interested in doing something about the issue — and not just assuaging the voters back home with a sound bite — they should start by unleashing the 420 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the Outer Continental Shelf. They can open exploration in ANWR and begin to smooth the permitting process for nuclear plants. Then we’ll see the price of energy start to drop. You don’t tax your way there.

Drop them a note and let them know.