Google-Funded Organizations Join Kochs To Call for Wind Production Tax Credit to Expire

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 06 Nov 2013 02:07:00 GMT

AFP anti-PTC adSeveral organizations sponsored by Internet giant Google are calling on Congress to let the wind production tax credit to expire. A full-page advertisement from the Koch brothers organization Americans for Prosperity states that the “undersigned organizations and the millions of Americans we represent stand opposed to extending the production tax credit (PTC)” because the “wind industry has very little to show after 20 years of preferential tax treatment.”

“Americans deserve energy solutions that can make it on their own in the marketplace — not ones that need to be propped up by government indefinitely,” the letter concludes.

Signatories of the letter who are Google-sponsored organizations, according to Google’s public policy transparency page, include:
  • American Conservative Union
  • Competitive Enterprise Institute
  • Heritage Action For America
  • National Taxpayers Union
  • R Street Institute

Google’s public policy division, which chose to sponsor the above groups, is run by former Republican Congresswoman Susan Molinari.

In addition to Americans for Prosperity, other signatories notorious for promoting climate-change denial and attacks on climate scientists include the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), Cornwall Alliance, Freedom Works, Independent Women’s Forum, Club for Growth, and the American Energy Alliance.

The listed organizations are not the only Google-supported opponents of wind power. This year, Google joined the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), whose energy agenda is driven by Koch Industries and other fossil-fuel companies. ALEC’s vigorous campaign against state-level renewable energy standards led to the resignation of the American Wind Energy Association and the Solar Energy Industries Association, who had been members in ALEC until this year. Google only updated its public policy transparency page to include its membership in ALEC recently, months after the first reports in August of its membership.

Google is a major beneficiary of the wind PTC, as the company has the stated goal of “100% renewable energy” power for its operations, which include energy-intensive data centers across the nation. Google currently is the sole customer of the entire output of three different wind farms — NextEra’s 114-megawatt Story County II wind farm in Iowa, NextEra’s 100.8MW Minco II wind farm in Oklahoma, and Chermac Energy’s planned 239.2 MW Happy Hereford wind farm in Amarillo, Tex. Breaking Energy’s Glenn Schleede has estimated that Google will receive a $370 to $417 million benefit from the PTC over ten years if it is continued.

If the PTC expires, Google shareholders will suffer, as will the nation’s growing wind industry. Moreover, the effort to meet the challenge of eliminating greenhouse pollution will be stalled, as the fossil-fuel industry enjoys the benefits of not having to pay for the costs of its civilization-threatening pollution. Climate and corporate accountability groups Forecast the Facts and SumOfUs have called on Google to end its support for politicians and groups that reject the threat of climate change and oppose clean-energy policy.

Google has not responded to requests for comment.

Update: The fossil-fuel industry group American Energy Alliance’s Press Secretary Chris Warren has notified Hill Heat of an error in the originally published letter. The original list included “Parker Hannifin – Hydraulic Filter Division” in the list of supporting organizations. The corrected letter replaces that group with the “Interstate Informed Citizens Coalition.”

Senate Tacks Tax Extenders Onto Bailout Bill 1

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 01 Oct 2008 15:11:00 GMT

The Senate is attaching their version of H.R. 6049 to the bailout bill they plan to vote on this evening.

The New York Times reports:

Senate leaders scheduled a Wednesday vote on a $700 billion financial bailout package after accepting tax breaks and a higher limit for insured bank deposits in a bid to win House approval and send legislation to President Bush by the end of the week. . . The Senate proposal would cost more than $100 billion and extend and expand many individual and business tax breaks, including tax credits for the production and use of renewable energy sources, like solar energy and wind power.

The bill would also extend the business tax credit for research and development, expand the child tax credit, protect millions of families from the alternative minimum tax and provide tax relief to victims of recent floods, tornadoes and severe storms.

Climate Progress has more.

Fate Of Renewable Tax Credits Still In Doubt

Posted by Brad Johnson Mon, 29 Sep 2008 11:20:00 GMT

From E&E News:
House Democrats last night added funding for rural counties to tax policy bills as part of an effort to end an impasse with the Senate that is jeopardizing extension of expiring renewable energy tax credits. But the Senate’s top tax writer quickly called the House proposal inadequate, leaving unresolved a standoff that has delayed billions of dollars in incentives for alternative power, energy-efficient buildings and other technologies.

The House may vote as soon as today on two separate tax policy bills. The first (H.R. 7201) is a roughly $14 billion package of energy provisions that mirrors incentives the House approved last week. The second (H.R. 7202) is a much larger package of business and personal credits that now includes a reauthorization through 2009 of the Secure Rural Schools program that aids counties hurt by declining timber sales on federal lands. It also now funds the Payment In Lieu of Taxes program for 2009, and the total cost for the two rural provisions combined is estimated at $1 billion over a decade. The Senate has approved a longer extension of these programs at a cost of roughly $3.3 billion.

Last week, the House voted on the energy and non-energy extenders together as one bill. While Oregon lawmakers have pushed the House to include the county funding, this and other changes to the House plan do not appear to have appeased senators who say their year-end tax package is the only one that can win the needed 60 votes. Senate Democrats say their bill is a carefully negotiated compromise with Republicans who in many cases oppose offsets for tax incentives.

But top House Democrats continued to bristle at calls to simply accept the Senate’s bill. “At the end of the day, I think what we are finding is this whole concept of having two bodies constitute the Congress – the House and the Senate – is actually being shattered,” Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) said last night.

Senate Passes Baucus-Grassley Tax Extenders Package With Clean And Dirty Fuel Incentives 2

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 24 Sep 2008 00:05:00 GMT

By a vote of 93-2 (Crapo and Kyl opposed; Biden, DeMint, Kennedy, McCain, and Obama abset), the Senate passed the Baucus-Grassley Energy Improvement and Extension Act (S.Amdt. 5633 to H.R. 6049) this afternoon. The $100 billion bill extends the solar incentives through 2016 and other renewable production tax credits for one or two years. There are $8.3 billion in funds for this year’s climate disasters, including the Midwest floods and Gulf Coast hurricanes. Some tax breaks for oil companies are rolled back, but the bill is far from fully funded (even ignoring the giant AMT protection).

Significant elements of the bill, as passed: Energy incentives
  • Extends for one or two years and expands production tax credits for wind, refined coal, biomass and marine renewables. $5.8 billion.
  • Extends through 2016 the investment tax credit for solar energy. $1.9 billion.
  • Extends through 2016 the credit for residential solar property. $1.3 billion.
  • Provides new tax credits for creation of advanced coal electricity projects and certain coal gasification projects. $1.4 billion.
  • Establishes a new credit for plug-in electric drive vehicles. $758 million.
  • Extends credit for energy-efficient improvements to existing homes. $837 million.
Alternative Minimum Tax
  • Increases personal credits against the AMT, shielding more than 20 million taxpayers from the tax. $61.8 billion.
  • Protects those exposed to the AMT because of incentive stock options. $2.3 billion.
Individual and business tax credits
  • Extends until end of 2009 the research and development credit. $19 billion.
  • Extends until end of 2009 the deduction for state and local general sales taxes. $3.3 billion.
  • Extends until end of 2009 a tax deduction for higher education costs. $5.3 billion.
  • Extends until end of 2009 a deduction for a teacher’s personal expenses. $410 million.
  • Lowers the refundable threshold for the child tax credit for the 2008 tax year. $3.1 billion.
Other
  • Requires private insurance plans that offer mental health benefits to offer such benefits on a part with medical-surgical benefits. $3.9 billion.
  • Provides tax relief to victims of natural disasters in Midwest and elsewhere. $8.3 billion.

Environmental Coalition on Baucus-Grassley: 'Pass Clean Energy Incentives; Strip out Provisions that Support Dirty Fuels' 1

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 18 Sep 2008 20:25:00 GMT

A coalition of 16 environmental organizations (and the League of Women Voters) is sending a joint letter to U.S. Senators indicating a joint position on the Baucus-Grassley tax extenders package (H.R. 6049). They write:
On behalf of our millions of members and activists, we urge Congress to pass the clean energy tax incentives included in the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 and strip the bill of incentives for dirty fossil fuels. Congress should take this opportunity to promote a new energy economy and begin the fight against global warming, and not reward the big oil and dirty coal industries.

The organizations are the Alaska Wilderness League, Audubon, the Center for International Environmental Law, Clean Water Action, Defenders of Wildlife, Earthjustice, Environment America, the Environmental Defense Fund, Friends of the Earth, League of Conservation Voters, League of Women Voters of the United States, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, The Wilderness Society, and the Union of Concerned Scientists.

The National Wildlife Federation, because of the “sweeping new federal subsidies for oil shale, tar sands and liquid coal refining,” “dirty fuels that will dramatically increase global warming pollution and threaten millions of acres of wildlife habitat,” is sending a letter in unambiguous opposition to Baucus-Grassley.

The text of both letters is after the jump.

September 18, 2008

Pass Clean Energy Incentives; Strip out Provisions that Support Dirty Fuels

Dear Senator,

On behalf of our millions of members and activists, we urge Congress to pass the clean energy tax incentives included in the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 and strip the bill of incentives for dirty fossil fuels. Congress should take this opportunity to promote a new energy economy and begin the fight against global warming, and not reward the big oil and dirty coal industries.

The bill would extend federal tax incentives for energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies that have expired or will expire at the end of this year. These incentives must be extended immediately to avoid significant harm to the developing clean energy industries in the United States. The technologies produced by these industries play a vital role in reducing global warming pollution, creating new high-wage jobs in our country, and saving consumers and businesses money on their energy bills.

The extensions would help consumers and businesses reduce their energy consumption immediately, and in so doing blunt the impact of high energy bills. The greater use of energy efficiency and renewable energy spurred by extending the incentives would also decrease demand for natural gas, which in turn would help reduce natural gas prices. High natural gas prices are putting significant upward pressure on inflation and consumer energy bills. The incentives will help create new high-wage jobs in the clean energy technology sector and help the U.S. gain ground on other countries that are already ahead of us in the development and deployment of clean energy technologies.

The renewable energy and efficiency provisions have broad support from the nation’s largest retailers, leading appliance makers, commercial real estate industry, home insulators, architect association, the solar industry, biomass industry, wind industry, and environmental groups. However, the bill currently contains several controversial provisions on dirty fuels that we urge Congress to strip before the bill becomes law. These dirty liquid fuel provisions in the bill would be a major setback in efforts to solve global warming. Extraction of these fuels – tar sands, oil shale and liquid coal – can produce more than twice the amount of global warming pollution as conventional oil. Supporting these fuels through tax incentives is completely at odds with mandatory carbon reductions that we expect Congress will enact in the near future.

The “Refinery Expensing” provision in the bill promotes the production of oil shale and tar sands fuels. This provision expands the Internal Revenue Code Section 179C tax credit to refinery property that is used to directly convert oil shale and tar sands into liquid transportation fuels. The extraction, refining and combustion of oil from shale is likely to generate upwards of four times more greenhouse gasses than conventional fuels and would be mined from some of our most precious wildlands in the Rocky Mountain West.

Tar sands oil from Canada is being extracted from the heart of Canada’s Boreal forest, one of the last large intact ecosystems on Earth. The devastating extraction process turns the pristine forest into a moonscape. Tar sands could be produced in the Western United States as well. Canadian tar sands oil already is being refined in refineries in the Midwest and Rockies regions and makes up 8% of the fuel use in our country. Of the half dozen U.S. refinery expansions in the permitting stage, most are multi-billion dollar expansions to take more tar sands oil from Canada. Supporting these refinery expansions through the tax code will impose high costs on taxpayers when oil companies operating in the tar sands are making record profits.

Provisions that incentivize liquid coal are also problematic. Relying on liquid coal would nearly double the global warming pollution per gallon of transportation fuels and increase the damage of coal mining to communities and ecosystems across the country. This fuel has yet to emerge as a significant transportation fuel in the United States and is not a viable fuel in a world where carbon must be reduced. Congress should therefore not provide any support to the development of liquid coal.

Extending the clean energy tax incentives would maintain the growth of energy efficiency and renewable energy industries, which are essential to reducing global warming pollution. We urge you to support clean energy incentives and strip the dirty fuels provisions before the bill is sent to the president. Sincerely,
Karen Wayland, Legislative Director
Natural Resources Defense Council

Tiernan Sittenfeld, Legislative Director
League of Conservation Voters

Cindy Shogan, Executive Director
Alaska Wilderness League

Jennifer S. Rennicks, Federal Policy Director
Southern Alliance for Clean Energy

Betsy Loyless,
Audubon

Shawnee Hoover, Legislative Director
Friends of the Earth

Marty Hayden, V.P. Policy and Legislation
Earthjustice
Lynn Thorp, National Campaigns Coordinator
Clean Water Action

Linda Lance, Vice-President for Public Policy
The Wilderness Society

Debbie Sease, National Campaign Director
Sierra Club

Elizabeth Thompson, Legislative Director
Environmental Defense Fund

Steve Porter, Director of Climate Programs
Center for International Environmental Law

Marchant Wentworth, Legislative Representative
Union of Concerned Scientists

Anna Aurilio, Director, Washington Office
Environment America

Judy Duffy, Advocacy Director
League of Women Voters of the United States

Robert Dewey, V.P. Government Relations Defenders of Wildlife

NWF:

Dear Senator: On behalf of our four million members and supporters and the hundreds of thousands of hunters, anglers and other outdoor enthusiasts in our ranks, we write in opposition to the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 (H.R. 6049). While we strongly favor the critical extensions of incentives for conservation and renewable energy we oppose H.R. 6049 because it includes substantial new subsidies for dirty fuels that will dramatically increase global warming pollution and threaten millions of acres of wildlife habitat. The clean energy tax incentives have passed both the Senate and House several times, and we applaud the Senate’s efforts to move these into law. Unfortunately, by including sweeping new federal subsidies for oil shale, tar sands and liquid coal refining, the bill no longer represents the kind of progress America needs to confront global warming. We specifically oppose:

Refinery Incentives for Oil Shale & Tar Sands: The “Refinery Expensing” provision in the bill promotes the production of oil shale and tar sands fuels. This provision expands the Internal Revenue Code Section 179C tax credit to refinery property that is used to directly convert oil shale and tar sands into liquid transportation fuels.

Oil shale development would put at risk millions of acres of wildlife habitat throughout the Rocky Mountain West important to hunters, anglers and other wildlife enthusiasts. Moreover, producing transportation fuels from oil shale and tar sands would dramatically increase global warming pollution.

Oil shale production is five times more CO2 intensive than conventional drilling and gasoline production. The United States cannot change course on its rising global warming pollution levels while quintupling the CO2 in our tanks.

A viable shale industry would also have significant direct impacts on wildlife, and inevitably collide with consumer water needs in the arid West. Shale production requires five gallons of water to produce one gallon of fuel, and the vast majority of shale is located in arid states with limited water resources. The federal government reports that a viable shale industry would consume upwards of 315 million gallons of water daily – 130 percent of the City of Denver’s daily water use. Combined with the massive disturbance of land and habitat caused by shale extraction, this fuel presents a grave risk to sensitive wildlife habitat in the Rocky Mountain West.

Tar sands production is four times more CO2 intensive than conventional drilling and gasoline production. Tar sands also threaten wildlife habitat as they are currently being mined from Canada’s boreal forest, and could be produced in the Western United States as well. Of the half dozen U.S. refinery expansions in the permitting stage, most are multi-billion dollar expansions to take more tar sands oil from Canada. Supporting these refinery expansions through the tax code will impose high costs on taxpayers when oil companies operating in the tar sands are making record profits.

Incentives for Liquid Coal: the “Carbon Capture and Sequestration Demonstration Projects” and the “Extension and Expansion of the Alternative Fuels Credit” would promote coal to liquid transportation fuels. The production and use of coal-based transportation fuels would more than double the global warming pollution per gallon as compared to conventional gasoline. It would also increase the devastating effects of coal mining felt by communities and wildlife stretching from Appalachia to the Rocky Mountains.

NWF strongly supports provisions in the bill that would extend federal tax incentives for energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies that have expired or will expire at the end of this year. These incentives must be extended immediately to avoid significant harm to the developing clean energy industries in the United States. The technologies produced by these industries play a vital role in reducing global warming pollution, creating new high-wage jobs here at home, and saving consumers and businesses money on their energy bills.

The extensions would blunt the impact of high energy bills by encouraging greater use of energy efficiency and renewable energy, and therefore decrease demand for natural gas. High natural gas prices are putting significant upward pressure on inflation and consumer energy bills.

However, the increased global warming pollution and destruction of important wildlife habitat that would result from the oil shale, tar sands, and CTL provisions in H.R.6049 outweigh the benefits of these clean energy incentives. The United States cannot change course on its rising global warming pollution levels while dramatically increasing the CO2 in our tanks. We therefore regrettably urge opposition to the bill.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Larry Schweiger
President & CEO
National Wildlife Federation

NWF Opposes "All Of The Above" Bill; LCV Opposes Even More Industry-Friendly Motion To Recommit

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 16 Sep 2008 20:00:00 GMT

As votes near this evening on the “all of the above” Democratic energy package (H.R. 6899), National Wildlife Federation president Larry Schweiger sent a letter to Congress opposing the bill because it lifts the oil shale moratorium. He writes:
The public, including National Wildlife Federation’s four million members and supporters, wants Congress to take the urgent and necessary steps that will give consumers better energy choices, cut oil dependency and cut global warming pollution. While we favor many provisions in the Comprehensive American Energy Security and Taxpayer Protection Act (H.R. 6899), especially when compared to the expected motion to recommit, we oppose the bill because of its provision allowing commercial oil shale leasing. As a result of this provision, the bill fails to address the fundamental challenge of avoiding significant new increases in global warming pollution and protecting important wildlife habitat on our public lands.
League of Conservation Voters President Gene Karpinski issued the following statement opposing the Republican motion to recommit:
Drilling is no longer the issue – unfortunately, both H.R. 6899 and the motion to recommit include drilling. The issue today is whether or not each Member of Congress will stand up for the American people or stand with the oil industry lobbyists.

All summer, Republicans have called for an ‘All of the Above’ plan on energy. Now, presented with a compromise that gives them everything they’ve asked for, the Republican leadership refuses to support it. Instead, they offer a motion to recommit, which will remove every provision from the bill that Big Oil doesn’t like: provisions that reduce tax breaks to Big Oil and extend them to renewable energy companies, increase efficiency, and create the first national renewable energy standard.

How each member votes will highlight the real differences between those in Congress who support clean energy as central to America’s energy future, and those who remain tied to big oil and want to keep us stuck in the past. LCV opposes the motion to recommit and calls on the Members of Congress who support it to stop working for the oil companies and start working for the American people.

The Comprehensive American Energy and Security, Consumer Protection Act 1

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 16 Sep 2008 03:16:00 GMT

Reps. Nick Rahall (D-W.V.), Gene Green (D-Texas), George Miller (D-Calif.), and John Dingell (D-Mich.) have unveiled the House Democratic “all of the above” energy package, The Comprehensive American Energy and Security, Consumer Protection Act (H.R. 6899), which lifts the moratorium on offshore drilling and calls for massive investments in natural gas, oil, and coal, as well ethics reform for the MMS, support for public transit, and a suite of energy efficiency and renewable energy incentives and standards paid for by eliminating some oil subsidies.

Many elements are drawn from previous House bills—H.R. 5351, H.R. 3221, H.R. 6, H.R. 4520, H.R. 6578, H.R. 6078, H.R. 6052, H.R. 6515.

RENEWABLE ENERGY FUTURE, CREATING AMERICAN JOBS

  • Renewable Energy and Efficiency Tax Incentives. Extends and expands tax incentives for renewable energy, including incentives for plug-in vehicles, and retains and creates hundreds of thousands of American jobs. It expands and extends tax incentives for renewable electricity, (such as solar and wind) and fuel from America’s heartland, as well as for plug-in hybrid cars, and energy efficient homes, buildings, and appliances. Investments in renewable energy create three to five times as many jobs as investments in fossil-fuel energy. (H.R. 5351)
  • Renewable Electricity Standard (RES), Electricity from Clean Renewable Sources. Requires utility companies to generate 15 percent of electricity from renewable sources – such as wind power, biomass, wave, tidal, geothermal and solar – by 2020. A 15 percent Renewable Electricity Standard will reduce global warming emissions and lower energy prices, saving consumers $13-18 billion cumulatively by 2020. It permits utilities to meet up to 4 percent of their target through energy efficiency. (H.R. 3221)
  • Investing in Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency and Home Heating Assistance (LIHEAP), Paid for by Making Oil Companies Pay their Fair Share for Drilling on Public Lands (98/99 leases). Creates a Strategic Renewable Energy Reserve to invest in clean, renewable energy resources and alternative fuels, promote new energy technologies, develop greater efficiency and improve energy conservation. It will also fund home heating assistance, weatherization, the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and carbon capture and sequestration. (H.R.6)

LOWERS COSTS TO CONSUMERS & PROTECTS TAXPAYERS

  • Royalty Reform: Making Oil Companies Pay Their Fair Share for Drilling on Public Lands. Ensures that oil companies pay their fair share of royalties on flawed leases granted in 1998 and 1999. Oil companies holding 70 percent of these leases issued in the Gulf of Mexico from 1998 and 1999 pay no royalties on this oil, costing American taxpayers about $15 billion.
  • Repeal of Tax Subsidies. Repeals a giveaway in the 2004 international tax bill (H.R. 4520) for the Big Five oil companies. (Small, independent oil and gas companies would continue to benefit from the deduction at the current rate.) It also closes a foreign tax loophole for large oil companies. These will pay for critical investment in American renewable energy. (H.R. 5351)
  • Releasing Oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Temporarily releases nearly 10 percent of the oil from the government’s stockpile (known as the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR)), and replaces it later with heavier, cheaper crude oil. Past releases have brought down prices by as much as 33 percent. (H.R. 6578)
  • Mineral Management Service Ethics Reform. Take aggressive steps to crack down on the extreme misconduct at the Mineral Management Service—the agency charged with collecting royalties from oil and gas companies, which is one of the largest sources of revenue for the federal government. The Interior Department’s Inspector General just reported on a range of illegal and unethical behaviors plaguing the MMS, including accepting gifts, meals, and alcohol from industry representatives; instances of illegal drug use among employees; sexual relationships between MMS employees and representatives of oil and gas companies; and violations of federal procurement regulations, which clearly put taxpayer dollars at risk, such as steering lucrative contracts to former colleagues in the private sector.

GREATER ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND CONSERVATION

  • Strengthen Energy Efficiency in Buildings to Bring Down Costs. Could save consumers as much as $210 billion in energy costs through 2030 by updating energy codes for new buildings. New residential and commercial buildings will have to realize a 30 percent improvement in energy efficiency by 2010, and 50 percent by 2020. The building sector alone accounts for approximately 48% of all energy consumed in the United States and of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. (H.R. 3221)
  • Incentives for Energy Efficient Homes. Provides incentives to lenders and financial institutions, including the Federal Housing Administration, to provide lower interest loans to consumers who build, buy or remodel their homes to improve their energy efficiency. The average American consumer spends 9.7% of their annual income on energy, while low-income households spend more than 16%. (H.R. 6078, Rep. Perlmutter)
  • Saving Energy Through Public Transportation Act. Reduces transit fares for commuter rail and buses and expands service. The average commuter can save up to $8,000 a year riding public transit, based on today’s gas prices. (H.R. 6052)

EXPANDING DOMESTIC OIL AND GAS SUPPLY

  • Responsible Compromise on Drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf. Because of recent actions by President Bush, the 27 year bipartisan legislative moratorium banning offshore drilling, keeping oil spills and polluters off America’s coastlines, will end on September 30th, allowing drilling to take place as close as 3 miles offshore.
    • The compromise would permit leasing between 50 and 100 miles offshore if a State ‘opts-in’ to allow leasing off its coastline by enacting state law.
    • Environmental Protections: National marine monuments and national marine sanctuaries are permanently withdrawn from oil and gas leasing. All leasing activities must protect the coastal, marine and human environment of the State coastal zones and OCS. DOD authority to designate national defense areas remains in force and leasing must also take place in accordance with a Memorandum of Agreement between the Defense and Interior Departments.
    • The compromise adheres to the 2006 law protecting parts of the eastern Gulf of Mexico from drilling until 2022.
    • The remaining Outer Continental Shelf beyond 100 miles would be open to oil and gas leasing.
  • Require Oil Companies to use the 68 Million Acres of Federal Lands They Already Control. Strengthens requirements that oil companies produce oil on federal lands leased for drilling during the initial term of their lease. (DRILL Act, H.R. 6515).
  • Increase Domestic Oil Production in Alaska. Mandates annual lease sales in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska, which has more oil than the Arctic Wildlife Refuge; also the oil can be brought to market sooner. Also requires the Bush Administration to facilitate completion of the oil pipeline infrastructure into the Reserve and the construction of the Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline, which could create up to 100,000 jobs, while banning export of Alaskan oil outside the U.S. (DRILL Act, H.R. 6515)
  • Promote Natural Gas, E-85 Infrastructure. Includes incentives and financing mechanisms for installing natural gas pumps in service stations and homes and requires service stations owned by Big Oil to install at least one “alternative fuel pump”such as natural gas or E-85. Natural gas costs 40 percent less than gasoline, is 33 percent cleaner and is produced in North America.
  • Carbon Capture & Sequestration. Advances the development and deployment of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies to come up with a cleaner way to use coal by using funds from the 1998/99 royalty reform to invest in this critical technology.

The Eight Missed Votes

Posted by Brad Johnson Fri, 12 Sep 2008 13:11:00 GMT

In August, Tom Friedman penned “Eight Strikes and You’re Out” on McCain’s record on extending renewable energy production and investment tax credits:
Senator McCain did not show up for the crucial vote on July 30, and the renewable energy bill was defeated for the eighth time. In fact, John McCain has a perfect record on this renewable energy legislation. He has missed all eight votes over the last year — which effectively counts as a no vote each time. Once, he was even in the Senate and wouldn’t leave his office to vote.
The eight votes:
  • July 30: S. 3335 filibustered 51-43 [Roll Call #192]
  • June 17: H.R. 6049 filibustered 52-44 [Roll Call #150]
  • June 10: H.R. 6049 filibustered 50-44 [Roll Call #147]
  • April 10: S. Amdt. 4419 (tax credits without offsets, attached to Dodd housing bill) passes 88-8 [Roll Call #95]
  • February 6: S. Amdt 3983 to H.R. 5140 (tax credits without offsets, attached to stimulus package) filibustered by one vote (58-41; Reid procedural vote with GOP, McCain not voting) [Roll Call #8]
  • December 13: H.R. 6 filibustered by one vote (59-40; Landrieu with GOP, McCain not voting) [Roll Call #425]
  • December 7: H.R. 6 filibustered 53-42 [Roll Call #416]
  • June 21: S.Amdt. 1704 filibustered 57-36 (Landrieu with GOP, Boxer, Brownback, Coburn, Johnson, McCain, Sessions not voting) [Roll Call #223]

The one time the tax credit extension passed, it was known to be a deal-breaker in the House, since there was no funding mechanism approved and it was tied to the housing bill.

See Hill Heat’s earlier timeline of Republican obstruction on extending the renewable tax credits.

House Energy Bill On Tap

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 11 Sep 2008 11:16:00 GMT

According to E&E News, Democratic leadership plans to unveil an “all of the above” energy package today or tomorrow which likely has the following components:
  • Expansion of OCS leasing to include areas off the coasts of the Carolinas, Virginia and Georgia, and possibly the eastern Gulf of Mexico as well. A bipartisan Senate plan known informally as the “Gang of 10” proposal would allow drilling in these regions no closer than 50 miles from shore. But House lawmakers and aides did not say how close to shore their plan would allow drilling.
  • New revenues from oil companies. A Democratic leadership aide said the bill may include provisions to ensure payment of royalties from late-1990s deepwater Gulf of Mexico leases that currently allow royalty waivers regardless of energy prices. The absence of price-based limits on these royalty waivers could cost the Treasury as much as $14.7 billion over 25 years, according to the Government Accountability Office. The bill may also include the repeal of the Section 199 tax deduction for major oil companies. This plan, past versions of which have also frozen the deduction at 6 percent for non-majors, raises roughly $13.6 billion over a decade, the Joint Committee on Taxation estimated in June.
  • A so-called renewable electricity standard that requires utilities to supply escalating amounts of power from sources like wind and geothermal power. The House Democrats plan to include a standard of 15 percent by 2020, an aide said, akin to a measure the House approved last year that did not survive negotiations with the Senate. The plan allows roughly a fourth of the standard to be met with efficiency measures.
  • Extension of renewable energy and energy efficiency tax credits.
E&E also reports that Pelosi indicated “the energy bill might include support for automakers’ retooling to make more efficient vehicles.”
This could also be part of an economic stimulus package being prepared or the continuing resolution to extend government spending beyond the Sept. 30 end of the fiscal year, she said.

House Democrats Develop "All of the Above" Energy Agenda in Response to Republican Attacks 1

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 03 Sep 2008 22:08:00 GMT

Alex Kaplun reports for E&E News:
Top House Democrats say that shortly after Congress reconvenes, they will put on the floor a piece of legislation that will include an expansion of offshore drilling but also a renewable electricity mandate, energy-efficiency standards for buildings and oil industry tax provisions.

Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) described the plan as “a political reverse takedown on the Republicans,” by calling the GOP bluff on their calls for an “All of the Above” energy agenda. David Sandalow, an adviser to Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), told E&E News: “We’ll see whether the proponents of all of the above can take yes for an answer.”

Renewable electricity standards, building efficiency standards, and oil tax provisions have repeatedly passed the House over Republican opposition, but have died in Republican filibusters in the Senate.

The legislative plan will represent a compromise from the agendas of the various national lobbying campaigns by outside organizations:
  • Al Gore’s We Campaign’s call for a 100% renewable electricity standard by 2018;
  • Newt Gingrich’s American Solutions For Winning the Future’s call for expanded drilling;
  • T. Boone Pickens’ call for new grid development, tax incentives for wind and solar, and subsidies for natural gas;
  • The coal industry’s American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity’s call for increased advanced coal technology subsidies.

ACCCE and Pickens each have had a significant presence at the national conventions.

On a lighter note, as Open Left’s Matt Stoller found, the people employed by ACCCE to spread the “clean coal” message in Denver weren’t necessarily all up to speed.

Older posts: 1 2 3 4