Two steps forward, two steps back

TWO STEPS FORWARD, TWO STEPS BACK…. Congressional Republicans realize there are limits to attacking policy proposals without offering credible and substantive alternatives of their own. To that end, the House GOP caucus now has an energy policy.

Republicans released a long-awaited energy plan on Wednesday that’s heavily focused on nuclear energy, offshore and Arctic drilling and development of alternative fuels.

Yet their proposals were also designed as a critique to Democratic cap-and-trade proposals, which the GOP believes are too expensive and would essentially create a national “energy tax.”

The Republican plan promises to bring 100 new nuclear reactors online by 2029, permit oil exploration in offshore and Arctic areas and speed up the development of alternative fuels, including controversial carbon-capture and sequestration technology.

As much as I appreciate the notion of GOP lawmakers trying to play a constructive role in government, their “energy plan” isn’t exactly a step in the right direction.

For one thing, the Republican bill specifically says that the “impact” of global warming “shall not be considered for any purpose in the implementation” of their energy plan. The GOP, in other words, is approaching an energy policy from the position that climate change must be ignored.

For another, the GOP energy plan is, for all intents and purposes, indistinguishable from the energy plan presented by the Bush administration in 2008.

If Republicans want to play a more constructive policy role, they’re going to have to do better than this.