Sunday, December 09, 2007

The "Energy Bill" Pork-Laden Horsehockey

It's over 1,000 pages, and few (if any) Congresscritters read it before voting it out of the House.

The bill raises fuel economy standards for auto manufacturers; it also cuts [off] billions of dollars in tax breaks to oil companies (which will only increase the cost of energy for consumers, critics complain). The bill also requires utilities to get 15 percent of their power from renewable sources such as wind and solar by 2020.

Common sense? Absent:

Unlike energy bills produced by Republicans, the Democrats' version does not call for an increase in domestic production of conventional energy sources, such as oil, gas, and coal.

Ahhhh, but the Pork? Present!!

On the other hand, Boehner said the bill does contain earmarks: "Oh, yeah, we've got to have earmarks," he said. For example, Boehner said he found $161 million earmarked for the Plum Creek Timber Company's Montana landholdings -- for native fish habitat conservation. "I didn't know the fish lived in trees," Boehner said.

In addition, he pointed to a $2-billion earmark to help New York develop a rail line from the J.F.K. Airport to lower Manhattan. "That's something I'm sure my constituents want to pay for," Boehner, from Ohio, said.

He also complained about a $3-billion slush fund" included in the bill for "green projects" in cities and counties around America. But, Boehner warned, the definition of green projects is so wide that almost anything could be done with the money.

Fortunately, the bill's not likely to get any further. The Senate version is different.

Maybe it's even better. Then again, maybe not.

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