House Energy Bill By Dinosaurs, for Dinosaurs

Editorial by Congressman Jay Inslee (D. WA) offers a more imaginative approach to America's energy future.

Published: 10-Jun-2005

On April 21, Congress stepped back in geologic time when the House of Representatives passed an energy policy of the dinosaurs, by the dinosaurs, and for the dinosaurs. This energy bill is truly a "Jurassic" piece of legislation that relies on a limited energy source derived from creatures and plants that died millions of years ago. In fact, 93 percent of the $8 billion in tax incentives in the bill go to oil, gas, and other traditional energy industries.

Shortly before the House debate, one national leader said, "I will tell you with $55 oil we don't need incentives to oil and gas companies to explore. ... What we need is to put a strategy in place that will help this country over time become less dependent." Incredibly, that leader was President George W. Bush. Even the president with the worst environmental record since Warren G. Harding cannot conceal that this energy bill is more technologically suited for the 19th century than the 21st century.

Instead of this petroleum-soaked energy policy, some of my colleagues and I have been promoting a new vision for our energy future, one that would avoid drilling in our pristine areas, while creating jobs, enhancing our national security, and protecting the environment. This clean-energy vision, called the New Apollo Energy Act, is based on optimism rather than self-doubt, on new technologies rather than archaic methods, and on faith in Americans' innovative talent rather than capitulation to narrow special interests. New Apollo will commit our nation to clean energy to increase domestic high-tech employment, reduce the effects of climate change, and advance our country toward independence from foreign oil. Though the Republican leadership refused to allow us to offer a version of New Apollo as an amendment to the energy bill, I will soon be introducing it as a separate bill in Congress.

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