Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Progress on Energy: Don't Look to Washington

After nearly six years, we have seen no meaningful progress on energy policy from BushCo and the Republicans in Congress. It took them nearly five years to get an energy plan enacted. Bush has been unable to get his "Clear Skies" initiative out of the Senate committee. Last year's energy monstrosity was jammed full of goodies for energy companies. All the while the need for a meaningful national energy policy becomes increasingly apparent as bad news streams into our homes from Iraq, Iran, Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico.
With Washington caught in one-party gridlock, others are stepping up to the challenge, most recently the governor of Illinois as reported by Reuters:
Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who is seeking re-election in November, announced a plan on Tuesday to tap local sources of energy from crops to coal to satisfy half the Midwestern state's energy needs in a decade.
Blagojevich, a Democrat, said his plan was the most ambitious of any state and involves constructing dozens of plants to make ethanol, electricity and natural gas -- and send the carbon dioxide the plants emit through a new pipeline to pump up the state's oil production and then sequester the greenhouse gas underground.
Environmentalists cheered the governor's proposal:
"The idea of making sure that (carbon dioxide) is captured from industrial sources, especially from new plants, is very important," said Frank Hawkins of the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Interestingly, capturing carbon dioxide is an idea that Jeff Immelt, the CEO of General Electric mentioned last month in his visit to Delaware. As I noted at the time, Immelt remarked that the urgency need to address energy and environmental issues has led to some interesting convergences of views:
GE CEO Jeff Immelt, who spoke last night at the Carper Roundtable, remarked that changing views on energy and the environment make for "surprising bedfellows" among NGOs and business.
Senate Democrats in Washington have proposed sound alternatives to BushCo's supply side approach, introducing a comprehensive energy plan that includes Carper as a cosponsor, and a fuel efficiency bill that includes Biden as a cosponsor.
Given that our federal executive is controlled by two former oil executives, progress over the next two years will likely come from outside Washington, which is why this proposal from Governor Blagojevich is so timely.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Tommywonk - wanted to give you a heads up that over the next few days we'll be blogging LIVE from the Tour de Delaware (Jack's cycling the whole state!)

Check out Jack Markell's Blog for Delaware and let us know what you think!

7:58 PM, August 22, 2006  

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