Sierra Club Hails Energy Deal

By December 1, 2007Energy

From the Sierra Club’s news release, “Agreement Paves Way for Landmark Energy Legislation,” a statement from Carl Pope, executive director:

“We asked Congress to flip the switch on America’ s clean energy future by delivering a comprehensive energy bill that both raised fuel economy and greened the grid with renewable energy. As Congress finishes its first year under new leadership, it is now poised to flip that switch and deliver the kind of energy bill that the American public has been clamoring for. After two decades of being stuck in neutral and with oil prices in overdrive, Congress is finally on the verge of raising fuel economy standards. We applaud our leaders in Congress for taking on polluters, special interests, an army of cynical industry lobbyists, and the most hardened foes of clean energy to forge this historic agreement.

“Our environment, our climate, and the pocketbooks of hardworking American families are hurting after decades of failed energy policy. This bill–unprecedented in its support for clean energy and action to combat global warming–will take America’s energy policy in a dramatically different direction. It will create hundreds of thousands of jobs, save consumers over $26 billion at the pump and $18 billion on their energy bills, give us greener cars and clean electricity, put us on the road to energy independence, and make real progress in the fight against global warming.

“We’re now in the homestretch and are working hard to make sure this bill gets past the post and on the president’s desk as soon as possible. We hope that this holiday season he’ll give America the gift of a new energy future and all its trimmings.”

Oh, sure, an early Christmas present.

Again, reacting just to what we see — not having the benefit of a full briefing yet on the legislation — we’re struck by a few questions: How exactly does a bill that does nothing to encourage domestic production of energy (beyond biofuels) and imposes high-cost electricity on a vast portion of the country save the consumers any money? Or lowers gas prices? Or encourages energy security?

Join the discussion One Comment

  • Ron Correia says:

    All of the energy legislation proposals I’ve seen to far have been submitted with our eyes firmly glued to the rear view mirror. Improving the fuel efficiency of cars is certainly a temporary worthwhile goal, however it does nothing to address the fundamental fuel problem.

    In most of our major cities and certainly along both coasts, we have a significant infrastructure problem. Increasing fuel efficiency is offset by the amount of time the average worker must spend idling in rush hour traffic. My own commute over a distance of twelve miles now takes me close to an hour in the afternoon. It used to take me 20 minutes.

    The proposed energy solutions in Congress seem focused on technologies that have been around for well over a century. Increased use of ethanol is not a solution, it’s the onset of the next major problem. Tying our energy supply directly to our fuel supply is foolhardy at best. Can anyone imagine the cost of energy should our ability to produce ethanol suffer the effects of the Great Dust bowl in the 1930s?

    Hydrogen fuel cells are no solution either. The best source of hydrogen is not water, it’s carbon chains. Substituting our use of oil to produce gasoline for the future production of hydrogen cells makes very little sense. Either way we are still dependent on petroleum as a fuel source.

    Wind and solar sound quaint, but again they are not a long-term solution. I also question just how environmentally friendly they are as solutions, given that it requires a transfer of energy to produce electricity. the production of enough energy to make a difference for our larger cities using wind and solar power would almost certainly have a localized effect on the temperature in the regions holding the wind farms and solar arrays.

    What I am still waiting to see from our elected officials is a serious proposal to develop a 21st century energy solution. Forget oil, forget fuel cells, forget wind, forget solar, and definitely forget biofuels. Let’s hear some new ideas. Let’s tap the intellectual resources of this nation and challenge some innovative thought. The solution is certainly out there. Personally, I’d rather lead that wave towards the development of a 21st century solution rather than find ourselves once again dependent upon others for our energy needs.

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