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[greenyes] The Energy Bill, Recycling and Politics

Jerry Powell's update on the recently passed Energy Bill ("The recycling
equipment investment tax credits that were included in the Senate-approved
energy bill did not survive the House-Senate conference committee") may hold
a lesson to us.

The way things go in omnibus bills like those dealing with highways, or
in this case energy, different interests are lured into supporting the
entire package as the price for getting their individual item included.

Thus, in this case here, for the period of time that the recycling ITC
was a part of the package, the recycling community was expected to support
the entire deal, including its other provisions that, in this case:

>Threatens drinking water by amending the Safe Drinking Water Act to
allow the unregulated underground injection of chemicals during oil and gas
development and during geothermal energy development.

>Grants the oil and gas industries an exemption for their construction
activities from compliance with Clean Water Act provisions that require all
types of construction activities to reduce polluted runoff from these sites.

>Provides billions of dollars in subsidies to the nuclear industry,
including $2 billion risk insurance program for up to six new reactors that
was not included in either the House or Senate passed energy bills.

>Includes dangerous provisions to allow harmful underwater oil and gas
exploration that could pave the way for offshore drilling along America's

>Repeals the Public Utility Holding Company Act, the main law to protect
consumers from market manipulation, fraud, and abuse in the electricity

>Provides "backdoor immunity" to the producers and distributors, of the
likely carcinogenic gasoline additive MTBE by removing MTBE claims from
state court to federal court when the claims are based on state tort law,
nuisance law, or consumer law. This unfairly deprives injured parties and
their representatives of their right to have their claims heard in their
state forum and could derail many legal claims entirely, effectively
shielding those companies responsible for MTBE contamination from their full
financial liability for the damages they have caused.

>Seeks to significantly increase the ability to categorically exclude a
broad range of oil and gas exploration and drilling activities from public
involvement and impact analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act

>Pre-empts state authority in the siting and construction of liquefied
natural gas facilities, which are potentially dangerous facilities that will
contain large amount of gas.

>Increases air pollution and global warming with more than $6 billion in
new incentives to burn coal for electricity.

>Provides federal loan guarantees to build at least 16 new coal-fired
power plants.

>Provides incentives to cut down trees, including those in sensitive
areas such as roadless areas, to use in ethanol and motor fuels production.

>Promotes nuclear proliferation by reversing long-standing U.S. nuclear
policy against reprocessing waste from commercial nuclear reactors, and
using plutonium to generate commercial energy.

>Weakens states' abilities to protect their coasts from harmful oil and
gas exploration by weakening their voice about federal projects that affect
their coasts.

>Pre-empts states' rights by providing federal siting authority for
transmission lines.

>Extends the Price Anderson Act for 20 years which limits the nuclear
industry's liability in case of an accident.

>Allows oil industry to forgo royalty payments to the federal Treasury
for oil drilled areas off Alaska's coastline.

>Provides $250,000 to develop technologies to use radioactivity to
refine oil.

>Weakens states rights under the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act
in the permitting of liquefied natural gas facilities and natural gas

>Authorizes up to $1.5 billion in new subsidies to the oil industry for
ultra-deep oil drilling and exploration.

>Threatens wildlife and subsistence values of the 23 million-acre
National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska by literally giving away oil leases on
Alaska's North Slope, while at the same time handing oil companies a free
pass to sit on the leases for decades without contributing anything to
America's energy needs.

Part of this list of horribles are just generally bad public policy from
the perspective of those, like ourselves, who are dedicated to working for a
more sustainable world. But another part also, in addition to that, works
to reduce the cost of virgin materials, against which we compete, and
provides tax credits for incinerators and landfills further reducing the
costs for our other competitor, traditional disposal.

That is to say-- to put a crude cast to things -- in order to get some
crumbs, we may have had to slit our throats . And then to rub salt in the
wound, like sheep to slaughter, as Jerry tells us, even that tidbit was
yanked from the final conference report to make sure that there was enough
juice for the Big Boys.

There could be a lesson here that we should contemplate when Congress

Peter Anderson, President
4513 Vernon Blvd. Suite 15
Madison, WI 53705-4964
Ph: (608) 231-1100
Fax: (608) 233-0011
Cell: (608) 698-1314
eMail: anderson@no.address

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