Joe Barton Hawks His Energy Bill in the Dallas Morning NewsSomervell County Salon-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas


 

Joe Barton Hawks His Energy Bill in the Dallas Morning News
 


3 May 2005 at 2:51:33 PM
salon

More of a press release, the proud man who fought for the right of companies to pollute water, avoid being sued by the public, and make communities pay for cleanup as an unfunded mandate needs to have his BS called.

As chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, I sponsored the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which passed the House with bipartisan support. This comprehensive energy bill will address America's dynamic energy needs and, over the long term, improve air quality, cut fuel prices and generate jobs and opportunity.

Bipartisan support? When a large number of Democrats condemn the bill, it is hardly bipartisan support, although there were 41 Democrats joining the GOP majority (vote: 249-183-we frankly do not understand why Chet Edwards voted for this bad bill.)

Most Democrats denounced the bill as a giveaway to energy industries.

It is "clearly designed to help energy companies make more money, not help the American people save money," said Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California. She called it "anti-consumer, anti-taxpayer, anti-environment" and said it fails to address major concerns of people across the country: high gasoline and other energy costs.

Republican supporters of the bill acknowledged it does little to lower record high prices at the pump, but argued that the provisions are aimed at broadening and increasing the country's energy supply in the long run. They contend that if the bill had become law four years ago, when Bush issued his energy task force report, the current energy problems might not be as acute.

The reason the energy bill failed to pass last time was because of the MTBE provision.

Back to Barton's Press Release

The Energy Policy Act will take drastic measures to clean the air in places like Dallas-Fort Worth, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by increasing electricity production from alternative fuels. The act supports research to improve fuel efficiency standards and provides money to local governments to acquire low-emission vehicles to replace heavy-polluting trucks.

Another measure in the bill codifies the Environmental Protection Agency's "bump up" policy, which was established in 1994 by the Clinton administration. This codification provision prevents a downwind area from being unjustly penalized for pollution it doesn't generate. Codification simply allows the EPA to take local circumstances into account to more efficiently promote cleaner air; but localities opposed to participating won't be mandated to do so.

Hypocrite! Joe Barton is behind weakening the Clean Air Act. In 2003, the Dallas Morning News nicknamed him "Smokey Joe" and Clean Air Trust named him "Clean Air Villain". Here's also what Eddie Bernice Johnson had to say about him and his efforts in 2003.Even the EPA thinks this is a bad idea.

But Barton's adversaries argue that his approach poses unintended consequences, including an invitation for local communities that have not met air quality standards to use the extra time to put off reducing emissions from sources inside their borders. They say his provision could delay improvements by 10 years as one area waits for another, which waits for yet another – a prospect Barton disputed.

A motion to kill the Barton provision by Rep. Tom Allen, a Maine Democrat, failed by a 29-19 committee vote, largely along party lines.

"Bottom line, no longer will there be any incentive for states or municipalities to clean up more air pollution, and the EPA has no ability to force them to do it," Allen said.

Allen said tougher air quality standards announced by the EPA since the failure of the 2003 energy bill and the new interstate rule make Barton's provision unnecessary.

John Millett, an EPA spokesman, said the agency has taken no position on Barton's provision, but a high-ranking agency official said "a real debate" was under way among agency officials about its potential effectiveness and its effect on the Clean Air Act.

"Some people think it's a good idea. Most don't," Millett said.

More:

America needs this bill for secure, reliable energy in the 21st century, and this legislation will do the job. The high cost of gasoline is draining our economic growth and our wallets. This bill will increase our domestic energy supply, promote conservation and reduce prices for consumers. It will make our environment cleaner and foster hundreds of thousands of new jobs. This bill has been among my highest priorities in Congress for several years. We've held up our end of the deal in the House; now passage is in the hands of the Senate.

Read more on the Energy Bill here.

Then he blames Clinton for vetoing exploration for oil in the Alaskan Oil Reserves. Doesn't occur to him that a significant portion of the public also doesn't want our natural preserves despoiled. Also, had Congress spent money a decade ago for alternative energies, paying more than lip service to them, we also might not be in the same gasoline high price fix we're in now (which Bush has said isn't going to be corrected by passing this Energy bill). We also might mention that House Democrats, unlike Republicans, tried to elminate the provision allowing oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

If President Clinton hadn't vetoed one proposal a decade ago to allow exploration for Alaskan oil, I believe gasoline prices would be 40 cents lower at the pump today.

One thing more on this. Even if oil companies were to start drilling today, oil from that area will not be available for probably a decade and then won't be enough to stave off prices or imports. Will the Lord Strike Down Joe Barton?

Side note: Off the Kuff has a story on whether the Dallas Morning News might have softened it's stance regarding "Smokey Joe" after a private visit from Barton to the editorial office. He also references the Midlothian Family Network, site of number of articles concerning the cement plants there and air quality.


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