A Flawed First Step

Largely overshadowed by the uprising by House Republicans today was the “Gang of ten” compromise on energy. Ten Senators (5-D, 5-R), agreed to a deal that would try to break the log jam over energy. The deal may largely for show anyway, since any proposal for additional drilling in new areas seems to be DOA in the House anyway, but assuming it has a chance, I’m hesitant to support it. Yes, it does help, and it does give Republicans a lot of what they have been looking for – allowing drilling in the eastern gulf of Mexico, and off the east coast – but it also contains problems. For one, it fails to open drilling in ANWR, one of the most promising areas, and, to my knowledge (I’m looking for a full-text copy, so I may be wrong here), does nothing to promote the use of other oil resources, notably the Oil Shale, where we have TRILLIONS of barrels of oil (decades worth of US oil use from that source alone) that, with the right infrastructure, we could obtain and use at a far lower cost than the current $$/bbl price. But perhaps most importantly, the bill would raise taxes on the oil companies, a move that could drive up the cost of gas by forcing the oil companies to pass the additional taxes on to the consumer.

The bill is a positive first step, but it is also a flawed first step, and Congress has a long way to go before it puts together a bill that would truly pave the way for energy independence in the short term.

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