Saturday, January 30, 2010

2010 Is Already Producing Lots Of Energy Excitement


By Norris McDonald

Let me catch my breath. January 2010 was clearly a lion. So much has happened that it makes me excited about the rest of the year. What you ask? What has happened?

Well President Obama announced strong support for nuclear power at his State of the Union address this week. He followed that the next day by announcing that he wants to increase loan guarantees from $18.5 billion to $54 billion for nuclear power plants. Wow. About half of what is really needed, but what a great proposal. Unfortunately, he also announced the formation of a Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future. This commission is being created to study alternatives to Yucca Mountain, the 30-years-in-the-making nationally selected repository for 77,000 tons of nuclear waste. We support Yucca Mountain and believe President Obama is making a huge mistake by putting Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's political needs before good national energy policy.

President Obama also announced plans to reduce federal government carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 28% by 2020. What a bold decision. Too bad we don't have a national cap and trade program in place yet so the federal government could get additional budgetary credit via offsets for its reductions.

President Obama said he wants to expand offshore oil drilling. We oppose this recommendation. Our East and West coasts are too valuable to risk to an oil blowout. We should not seek to bother that oil and gas until we have exhausted all other oil on the planet, including oil sands and shale oil.

We can't support the Cantwell/Collins Cap and Dividends bill because it still uses an auction, which we oppose. And it just seems to be too cumbersome with its vast government system of taking money via rate increases to pay for the auction and then returning money to everybody.

We could have done without terrorist Osama bin Laden putting out a press release stating the obvious that we caused global warming. Duh. He's dead anyway or he would send a video at least one time. So easy to do.

This week we have EPA smog hearings and the Obama administration submits its FY 2011 Budget proposal. I will attend the EPA briefing at their headquarters on Monday.

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