Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Congress caving on energy bill?

"All the tough talk in Washington, D.C. about the need to combat global warming, make America energy independent and stimulate the economy with homegrown, renewable energy sources turned to a whisper on Thursday, as House and Senate Democratic leaders reportedly said they would remove key provisions for the renewable energy industries from the latest energy bill. "

So reports Renewable Energy Access. The industry newsletter says that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi have "decided to remove a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) and all tax provisions benefiting renewables so that they could pass an energy bill through Congress before Thanksgiving break on Friday, November 16."

“This is basically Congress delivering an early Christmas present to the American public — and it's a lump of coal,” said Rhone Resch, President of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “We are feeling disgusted because this energy bill goes right back to maintaining the status quo.”

That status quo, said Resch, means continued support for coal, oil and natural gas, additional support for biofuels, but no support for renewable forms of electricity such as solar, wind and geothermal.

The impact of such a decision is already being felt. reports today that the European stock of two German solar companies--Solarworld AG and Ersol Solar Energy AG-- declined on SEIA's website report that Congressional leaders are planning to remove solar investment tax credits from the energy bill.

Today, in Where's That Energy Bill?, New York Times editorial writers echo the concerns of the nation's alternative-energy industry, noting: "With both houses feeling pressure to do something — anything — to deal with high oil prices, there’s a real danger that one or more essential provisions could be dropped just for the sake of producing a bill.

The Times says that "doesn’t have to happen if the leadership, Nancy Pelosi in the House and Harry Reid in the Senate, hold the line and insist on legislation equal to the country’s profound energy problems."

Do you have any faith in Congress to produce a meaningful energy bill? Click on the "comment" line below and tell us what you think.

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