With the echos from St. Paul of Drill, baby, Drill still ringing in our ears (giving many a very bad headache), House members will vote this week on an energy package similar to the one introduced in the Senate by the bipartisan Gang of 10 last month.
The House bill will allow offshore drilling off the coasts of Georgia, North and South Carolina, and Virginia.
Other aspects of the legislation could include:
- Increased revenue from Big Oil. Firstly from a provision providing for payment of royalties from late-90’s deepwater leases in the Gulf of Mexico. These leases currently allow “royalty waivers” that, given the current rise in energy prices, could cost the U.S. Treasury up to $14.7 billion over 25 years. Secondly, from a a repeal of the Section 199 tax deduction that has amounted to corporate welfare for Big Oil.
- A “renewable electricity standard” requiring utltilites to supply an escalating percentage of power from renewable sources such as wind, solar, and geothermal.
- An extension of the renewable energy and efficiency tax credits – very important.
Senate Vote Next Week
Senate majority leader Harry Reid has indicated there will be a vote on the Senate’s Gang of 10 compromise bill as early as next Monday. Reid has expressed his support of the legislation.
Republican senator John Thune from South Dakota, a member of the Gang of 10, doubts any energy proposal other than the current compromise stand much of a chance of getting the required 60 votes for passage:
I think it comes down to those who want a solution to those who want an issue"
It is about time both the House and the Senate take up this issue and get something done to move the country forward, hard as that might be in this highly-charged and surreal campaign season.
As Joseph Romm writes in his blog Climate Progress, the political reality is that increased offshore drilling will happen:
…it’s time for enviros and progressives to get over it”
Okay, so I’m over it already. Now it’s up to Congress to do their part. If the compromise legislation offered in the House and Senate is the only way to get moving, then lets move. Too much time has already been wasted.
As much as it made me shudder to hear those calls of Drill, baby Drill, from the Great Right Wing Theater Show last week, to deny them their Red Meat at this point serves nobody.
We need to pass legislation that begins to address this nation’s energy policy. And we need it now.