Thursday, April 21, 2005

Pigs @ the trough

Yahoo! News - House Approves Broad Energy Bill

The House approved a broad energy bill Thursday aimed at boosting domestic production, including provisions to allow oil drilling in an Alaska wildlife refuge and to shield makers of a gasoline additive from water contamination lawsuits.

The largely Republican crafted bill was approved 249-183 after two days in which the GOP majority turned back repeated attempts by Democrats to add measures they said would reduce energy use, including a proposal for higher automobile fuel economy requirements.

The bill includes $12 billion in tax breaks and subsidies for energy companies, more than the Bush administration said it wanted. Nevertheless the White House strongly endorsed the measure.
Contentious issues during debate involved the gasoline additive, MTBE. The bill calls for shielding MTBE makers from product liability lawsuits stemming from contamination of drinking water supplies. Democrats warned the liability waiver would leave the public with billions of dollars in cleanup costs.

An attempt by Rep. Lois Capps, D-Calif., to strip the MTBE assistance from the energy bill was defeated, 219-213.

Capps said groundwater contamination from the gasoline additive has affected more than 1,800 community water systems in 29 states with a potential cleanup cost of $29 billion. MTBE makers, including large oil companies and refiners, dispute that estimate but have argued they need liability protection because of an expected surge in lawsuits.

Yes indeedy. Polluters must be protected against liabilty for polluting. Oil producers must be bribed to produce more oil because, lord knows, $50 a barrel won't get it done. And reducing consumption by encouraging conservation? Heavens, no -- it might reduce the ability of Exxon and Bandar Bush to pay for Tom Delay's skyboxes and Dubya's business ventures.

The looting of the treasury and the public trust is now virtually complete. But it appears the national anesthesia has not worn off, because the public is still fast asleep.

Coming is the mother of all hangovers.


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