IT’S BAAACK

IT’S BAAACK…President Bush devoted his Saturday morning radio address to flogging his energy bill. Richard Stevenson has the details:

Although the bill would do little or nothing to address the current spike in crude oil and gasoline prices, Mr. Bush suggested that the legislation was necessary to deal with the underlying causes of it: the rapid worldwide growth in demand for energy and the reliance of the United States on foreign oil.

In his weekly radio address, Mr. Bush urged the House and Senate to send him legislation that would improve conservation; encourage more domestic oil and gas production; provide incentives for the development of alternatives like ethanol, biodiesel and nuclear power; and update the nation’s electrical grid. […]

The White House has neither proposed nor backed any steps to address the immediate surge in gasoline prices. Administration officials say there is no evidence that the step most often debated in Washington when prices jump at the pump – releasing oil from the nation’s strategic reserve – has any substantial or lasting effect. But the administration has already won some early rounds in this year’s debate over the energy legislation, particularly in clearing the way for drilling in a section of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, an area that environmentalists have battled to keep off limits. […]

But some Democrats and their allies have said they intend to use the current climate to press their case that Mr. Bush has not gone nearly far enough in calling for conservation, tighter fuel-efficiency standards on cars and trucks, and development of alternative energy sources.

Naturally, I tend to agree with the Democrats and their allies, though I’d be willing to cut a deal on ANWR if push comes to shove (though I’d be deeply sad about it). I’m opposed to corn-ethanol subsidies for these reasons, but I’m open to switchgrass and other alternatives. Mainly, however, I think we have to get average fuel economy down by closing the SUV loophole and building public support for phased-in gas taxes. We’ll be doing the American car industry a huge favor in the long run. I think the always-eloquent John Cole put it best in a comment about the struggling GM:

Here is the problem, geniuses. Your cars are ugly, they break down much more than they should, and you spent all your time opposing CAFE standards instead of researching AND implementing fuel efficiency.

Indeed.

… wow. High gas prices really bring out the posturing on all sides:

WASHINGTON : Dubbed “NOPEC”, a bill passed by the US Senate Judiciary Committee would allow legal action to be taken against cartels such as OPEC, said Senator Patrick Leahy, one of the bill’s co-sponsors.

“The bill would allow the US Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission to file antitrust lawsuits against foreign states, such as members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), for price fixing and other anticompetitive activities,” said the Democrat.

“High oil import costs this year have affected all Americans in the form of record-high gasoline prices that continue to soar,” said Leahy to justify the measure.

The bill, just passed, would make it illegal for foreign states and their agents “to act collectively or in combination with any other foreign state …or agent” to limit the production of oil, natural gas, or any other petroleum product, or fix the prices of such products.

Silly.

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