# Huge Energy Bill - Has House Approval

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Gold Member
I couldn't find the earlier thread on this topic... If I recall, members were pleased to see nuclear energy back on the horizon. But, what about this bill over all?

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8739555/

House approves huge energy bill
Senate vote will follow; taxpayer groups, environmentalists oppose
July 28, 2005

WASHINGTON - The House by a wide margin approved a mammoth energy plan for the nation Thursday that sends billions of dollars in tax breaks and subsidies to energy companies, but is expected to do little to reduce U.S. oil consumption or dampen high energy prices.
As asked before, why are American tax payers subsidizing the oil industry, which is making record profits? How can such absurdity be passed...well in the house...where they passed the bill about burning the flag--figures I guess.

Here's what I will want to know in 2006 (so far):

1) Which members of congress displayed purple-inked fingers during Dubya's State of the Union address
2) Which members of congress were involved in the Terri Schiavo incident
3) Which members of congress voted against stem cell research
4) Which members of congress are voting for this energy bill

Etc. Let's start taking names on this kind of stuff and remember it well--and this goes for representatives of both parties. :yuck:

Gold Member
SOS2008 said:
Here's what I will want to know in 2006 (so far):

1) Which members of congress displayed purple-inked fingers during Dubya's State of the Union address
2) Which members of congress were involved in the Terri Schiavo incident
3) Which members of congress voted against stem cell research
4) Which members of congress are voting for this energy bill

Etc. Let's start taking names on this kind of stuff and remember it well--and this goes for representatives of both parties. :yuck:

... what does any (except #4) of those things have to do with energy policy.... or is this one of those series of progression things.

And how does the government subsidize the oil industry? I hear that a lot but no ones ever explained it to me.

pattylou
The energy bill has lots and lots of money going to the energy companies that use "traditional energy." Take the link! It comes from your pocket!

What those have to do with energy policy? Little, but that isn't why they are linked. They are linked because they are all offensive to the "America" I was taught that I live in. The one where people have personal liberties, and education and dreams are funded, and we are a world leader! --- not backwards thinking stuck-in-the-mud religious "army of god" thinking that promotes preemptive invasions of sovereign countries as a means of doing daily business! And why?

What the hell. Answer : For a stable democracy in an *oil rich* country that will now be *friendly* to the US because we have set it up!

There were no weapons. Saddam was not linked to 9/11. We had no reason to go there.

Why does it always come back to Iraq? You figure it out. I know the answer.

(and yes, I'm a little drunk. :tongue: )

Gold Member
pattylou said:
Why does it always come back to Iraq? You figure it out. I know the answer.

(and yes, I'm a little drunk. :tongue: )

Because thats all people think they know about? :) Think fahrenheit 9/11 got a little too much publicity :-/

pattylou
I didn't see the movie, it looked like trash.

It's because the Iraq War embodies the agenda that the President stands for, that is manifest in every action he takes.

It's also because it represents his bald-faced lies to *you*.

Gold Member
So his entire agenda is to free people? I understand...

Pengwuino said:
So his entire agenda is to free people? I understand...
Exactly! But only if they have oil, of course.

pattylou
Pengwuino said:
So his entire agenda is to free people? I understand...

His agenda is "My way or the Highway." It's selfish and self-promoting. It has nothing to do with working with other people, and has nothing to do with respect. I am talking about every issue from his "I'll unite this country but be damned if I'm going to meet the democratic senators halfway on Bolton, Rice, etc" rhetoric to "I will never endorse stem cell research, ever, it's way better to throw those embryos out."

His agenda allows lies and deceptions to achieve an end of domination. It plays on religiosity, and zero reason. It is neither considered nor wise. It is self-serving.

This is *wrong.*

And if he wanted to "free people" he could have started in any *number* of countries, and he could have started with humanitarian aid instead of bombs. Take your blinders off.

His agenda has more to do with *killing* people and "screw the US into ireversible debt" than with "freeing people."

I don't understand anything he does. I am glad Saddam is not in power. He was unsavory. So was the Shah of Iran, so was the Ayatollah Khomeini, so have lots of middle eastern leaders been. I think you're old enough to remember us *backing* Saddam against the Ayatollah in the '80's? Saddam was our *hero* against unchecked religiosity in the middle east. And *now* we're the one with the religious leader.

It's goddamn scary. And I've had even more wine!

Gold Member

Gold Member
pattylou said:
His agenda is "My way or the Highway." It's selfish and self-promoting. It has nothing to do with working with other people, and has nothing to do with respect. I am talking about every issue from his "I'll unite this country but be damned if I'm going to meet the democratic senators halfway on Bolton, Rice, etc" rhetoric to "I will never endorse stem cell research, ever, it's way better to throw those embryos out."

Well thats weird because democratic senators are almost unanimous in their rhetoric of "no bolton, no way, no compromise". Substitute bolton for social security, roberts, federal judges, etc and you have reality.

pattylou
Actually, that isn't their rhetoric at all.

Their rhetoric is "Give us the goddamned documents, and we'll give you an up or down vote."

Period. Don't you read the news?

Incidentally, I haven't seen anythingout of DC but endorsement for Roberts. You're talking out of your ass.

(I'm officially drunk! LOL)

pattylou
And ps, funny about the federal judges, I recall they passed several not too long ago.

Hunh.

I also recall a much tougher time for Clinton's nominees. Hunh again.

pattylou
Pengwuino said:
Hunh? You lost me here, bub. You drunk too?

We invaded Afghanistan with global support to find Al Qaeda. And then we stopped to go invade another country for no good reason. Sure, it could have been Saudia Arabia. But Iraq is weaker so Bush thought it would be a cakewalk. Hah!

'My way or the Highway" kicked in with Iraq. See? It always comes back to Iraq. And that's why.

Pengwuino said:
If this is adressed to me: I was being sarcastic in the sense that I don't believe Bush invaded Iraq solely for oil.

But you can't seriously argue that his agenda revolves around freeing all the people of the earth from evil dictators: there are so many examples of countries whose people are suffering as much as or more than the people of Iraq under Hussein. Has Bush invaded these countries? No. This is quite a discrepency if his policy is based on spreading freedom throughout the world.

Your "argument" here is appalling. We invaded Afghanistan because the country was harboring the terrorist organization responsible for the 9-11 attacks. This was done with the support of the rest of the world, and was justified (in my opinion, and in most other peoples' as well). Iraq is different (obviously): they didn't attack us, they weren't linked to the 9-11 attacks, and they didn't really have WMDs. This begs the question: why Iraq, rather than some other country with an even more oppressive regime? The answer seems to be the Bush's goals are not as noble as you believe.

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Pengwuino said:
And how does the government subsidize the oil industry? I hear that a lot but no ones ever explained it to me.

According to the article, the bill includes $2.7 billion in tax breaks that will go to the oil and gas (natural gas, presumably, but the article doesn't say) industries. I don't know if they currently receive subsidies of this kind. Then again, the article also says that there is included in the bill$14.5 billion in total tax breaks being paid out to energy companies. Since only 19% of these subsidies actually seem to be going toward fossil fuel, I'm not sure why SOS insists that this is just a subsidy for the oil industry.

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
I'm sure SOS was refering to Big Energy, in general.

Nearly two-thirds of the money does go to traditional energy companies. From the article :

The 1,725-page bill, the product of weeks of compromise between widely different versions approved by the two chambers earlier this year, would provide $14.5 billion in energy tax breaks, much of it to traditional energy companies. .... The legislation’s tax breaks affect virtually every energy industry:$2.7 billion for oil and gas, $3.1 billion for electric utilities,$2.9 billion for the coal industry.

Gold Member
Please feel free to research more sources than this link--it's ALL over the news. You may recall that Bush's energy plan included assistance to oil companies to build more refineries, including a proposal to 'donate' old military bases (government land) for these purposes.

What do the other issues have to do with the energy bill? It shows a chain of unprofessional (purple-inked fingers, like it was high school graduation or something), unintelligent (stem cell research is scientific progress that would save lives), and right-wing radicalism (wasting time about burning the flag). This congress, particularly the house has hit another low with this energy bill.

Not to mention the usual Whitehouse thug tactics and scheduling votes in the middle of the night.

I hope all these things are brought up in 2006 elections. :grumpy:

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Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Gokul43201 said:
I'm sure SOS was refering to Big Energy, in general.

Nearly two-thirds of the money does go to traditional energy companies. From the article :

Who is the money supposed to go to? Each provider has a regional monopoly within their territory. Are there really 'small' energy companies out there? The only companies with the means to innovate and develop new energy sources or expand existing non-fossil fuel sources are the big companies. I can understand complaining if this bill gives these companies no incentive to do anything but continue to burn (although in the case of the big utilities, all the ones around here primarily use hydroelectric power, complemented by the nuclear plants down in San Onofre, as far as I know), but don't simply complain because they're being given money.

Anyway, this article doesn't say much, and I doubt any other news service says much more. I'm just going to have to actually read the bill and then formulate an opinion. Until then, I may as well keep my mouth shut.

Mentor
I'd also like a comparison between this and what has been done in the past. The energy industry is a government regulated monopoly and it has always been subsidized. How much, I don't know....

Regardless, if this bill does one thing - restart the US's nuclear program - it'll become the most environmentallly friendly and foreign-policy friendly energy policy in more than 20 years.

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Regardless of what has been done in the past (if it was wrong, two wrongs don't make a right), or that many people are pleased to see promotion of nuclear energy, one wonders why our representatives can't bargain to remove detrimental aspects of legislation. And in view of Bush's background and immense debt/obligation to the oil industry, how can one not feel wary of this bill?

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Gold Member
Today as reported on CNN:

http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0507/29/ldt.01.html

DOBBS: And the Senate today also passed a mammoth energy bill one day after the House approved the same measure. President Bush will sign that bill into law sometime next week. But critics say the bill is laden with corporate subsidies. Congressman Henry Waxman the leading Democrat on the Committee on Government Reform recently discovered a $1.5 billion subsidy for research. Majority Leader Tom DeLay inserted this subsidy after it was already closed for further amendment. Normally research money is controlled by the government but more than$1 billion of this $1.5 billion will be controlled by a private consortium, the Texas Energy Center, located in Tom DeLay's home district in Sugarland, Texas. You've got to like that name, Sugarland. Among the companies on the board, Halliburton and Marathon Oil. In total, the energy bill steers nearly$15 billion in tax breaks and subsidies to oil, gas and energy companies, all at a time when these companies are reporting record profits and oil prices are above $60 a barrel. Tonight's quote of the day comes from Congressman Ed Markey. This is what he had to say about that$15 billion giveaway.

"Right now, Adam Smith is spinning in his grave so fast that he would qualify as a subsidy in this bill as an energy source. That's how bad it is."
To borrow a phrase from, er, uh-hem, Alfred E. Neuman: "What me worry?"

pattylou
God! You've got to be kidding!

This can't be legal. And what the hell is Delay still doing mucking around with questionable ethics? What a slimebag.

Mentor
That a Senator would send money toward his home state is unsurprising and certainly not unique to Republicans, so you cannot use that as a stick with which to beat Republicans. But step back and have a look at what you are opposing: R&D. Personally, I think the US government has a vested interest in funding energy R&D.

pattylou
Is it OK to do this as the quote suggests:

Majority Leader Tom DeLay inserted this subsidy after it was already closed for further amendment.

?

I'm not beating up *republicans,* I'm saying this behavior seems unethical. Whether it's been done before or not - it looks wrong. I *am* surprised that DeLay is doing *anything* that would get him noticed at the moment.

Furthermore, R&D *should* be financed. But if most R&D money is going to rich oil companies, then there is a problem.
I don't know how much is going to oil companies relatively speaking. I would hope to see that there is some reasonable balance among all the areas in our country that should be receiving money for research.

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Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Majority Leader Tom DeLay inserted this subsidy after it was already closed for further amendment.

Isn't that a little strangely worded? How could he have amended a bill after it was closed for amendment? If he was able to amend it, then it wasn't closed for amendment.

About the R&D money going to big petroleum companies - again, who else should the money go to? These are the companies with the resources and manpower to actually develop alternative energy sources. They have a proven track record of success. What companies would any of you propose giving the money to?

pattylou
"who else should the money go to? "

I'd recommend any of the PV or wind companies or biocell (etc) that have nothing to do with oil.

I would cynically assume that the oil companies (1) don't need the money, (2) won't feel too motivated to get a non-oil product to market before oil runs out and (3) There was a third one but I can't remember it now.

pattylou said:
"who else should the money go to? "

I'd recommend any of the PV or wind companies or biocell (etc)
Why would that be?

The Smoking Man
loseyourname said:
About the R&D money going to big petroleum companies - again, who else should the money go to? These are the companies with the resources and manpower to actually develop alternative energy sources. They have a proven track record of success. What companies would any of you propose giving the money to?
Considering the UK currently has a hydrogen powered motorcycle on the market and the Japanese have had Hybrids available for a few years now, how do you arrive at your conclusions?

By controlling the funds, big oil can and does control the speed of evolution in the power industry.

Allow them to control development and you give them license to allow the 'oil crisis' to progress to maximum return on the oil dollar while 'miraculously' coming in at the last minute with a solution.

What we are looking at is a classic 'fox watching the henhouse' scenario.

kat
The cost of this bill is $12.3 billion after revenue offsets. This is nearly twice the$6.7 billion amount Bush requested.

Bush has not passed it....It's possible Bush will veto it.

This bill passed with widespread political support, because...for the most part it has a li'l bit of pork in it for virtually every single one of them.

If you're really unhappy with this bill, it's time to contact the white house and demand a veto.

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Gold Member
pattylou said:
"who else should the money go to? "

I'd recommend any of the PV or wind companies or biocell (etc) that have nothing to do with oil.

I would cynically assume that the oil companies (1) don't need the money, (2) won't feel too motivated to get a non-oil product to market before oil runs out and (3) There was a third one but I can't remember it now.
Agreed. Subsidizing highly profitable industries, particularly those that will continue exploitation of fossil fuels, is complete nonsense. Subsidies should be given to companies that will offer alternatives and that need the assistance.
kat said:
The cost of this bill is $12.3 billion after revenue offsets. This is nearly twice the$6.7 billion amount Bush requested.

Bush has not passed it....It's possible Bush will veto it.

This bill passed with widespread political support, because...for the most part it has a li'l bit of pork in it for virtually every single one of them.

If you're really unhappy with this bill, it's time to contact the white house and demand a veto.
So true about why the bill has support. With record deficits, it's difficult to understand how this huge amount of spending can be justified, regardless of where it is going.

There are similar concerns in regard to the transportation bill, though some argue it will create jobs and improve our economy (as was done during the depression?). Bush has said he would veto the transportation bill, but do you really think he'll veto an energy bill that matches his own proposed plan to assist oil companies, especially in the state of Texas (including Hallibuton)?

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Gold Member
russ_watters said:
That a Senator would send money toward his home state is unsurprising and certainly not unique to Republicans, so you cannot use that as a stick with which to beat Republicans. But step back and have a look at what you are opposing: R&D. Personally, I think the US government has a vested interest in funding energy R&D.
I agree it is the norm for representatives to 'represent' their own constituents, because if they don't, they won't be reelected. That does not excuse wasteful spending, especially in times of record deficits, and bills such as this are being passed by a congress with republican majorities, and this is why these bills are able to be passed. If there is criticism, is it coming mostly from the GOP? No.

As for R&D, it is not my impression that anyone is arguing against R&D, just where our tax dollars would be best spent.
Why would that be?
Debate on energy alternatives has taken place in PF in great depth. This thread primarily is to discuss whether large, profitable oil companies should be subsidized by the American tax payers. Here is a link on the topic of subsidies:
http://earthtrack.net/earthtrack/index.asp?page_id=177&catid=66 [Broken]

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pattylou
Why would that be?
Because they're start ups that can employ lots of people and not run out of work when oil runs out.

It's better economically to stimulate businesses that can stay afloat in the long term. We are not in any risk of running out of wind or sun in the next two generations.

(You didn't expect that answer, didja? Heheheh.)

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
The Smoking Man said:
Considering the UK currently has a hydrogen powered motorcycle on the market and the Japanese have had Hybrids available for a few years now, how do you arrive at your conclusions?

By controlling the funds, big oil can and does control the speed of evolution in the power industry.

But it isn't 'big oil.' Don't you see that? Only 19% of the funds are going to the fossil fuel industry. The other 'big energy' companies mostly use hydroelectric and nuclear power. And who developed all these Japanese hybrids? Large automakers, correct? Who has built most of the hydrogen filling stations in the US? BP and Ford, two large companies. It just makes sense to me to give money to companies that have a track record of success.

pattylou said:
I would cynically assume that the oil companies (1) don't need the money, (2) won't feel too motivated to get a non-oil product to market before oil runs out and (3) There was a third one but I can't remember it now.

1) So what? Can we ever have enough R&D in a time when we so desperately need innovation? 2) Why on earth would they not feel motivated? Do you really think they care that their money comes from oil and not some other source? Of course not. They just care that they are getting money. They're not going to intentionally bankrupt themselves by continuuing to rely indefinitely on a fuel source that will eventually be gone. This isn't like the airline scandals where CEOs were able to sacrifice long-term profitability because they knew they would be gone when it came time to pay for it. Since the industry in question is already quite profitable, they have no incentive to sacrifice anything and they have the opportunity to look more toward the future.

pattylou
Still, competition is good.

Invest in the start ups. The oil companies have the revenue to work on alternative energy on their own.

THe only thing that makes sense to me with how the chips are falling, is that the oil companies that DeLay is funneling to - contributed to his campaign, and this billion dollars is their payback. That may (or may not) be par for the course - but if it is, then the action isn't motivated by developing the best businesses possible. Rather, it's motivated by payback.

In which case we can't defend Delay by saying he was making a smart move for developing energy or creating jobs or any of the old standards. We can *only* say that he was protecting his political interests.

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
I'm not particularly interested in DeLay's motives. I usually assume that all politicians are mostly motivated in everything they do by the desire to get reelected. I'm more concerned that bills passed into law actually do the country some good, regardless of why it is being passed or written up the way it is.