Bush tells it like it is (almost)
President Bush has came out swinging in urging the Senate to pass the energy bill recently approved by the House. The main controversy is opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling, but various tax provisions have also come under scrutiny. Here are some of the main points from a speech to the 16th Annual Energy Efficiency Forum in Washington today, from the White House Web site:
- "propose that every American who purchases a hybrid vehicle receive a tax credit of up to $4,000."
- "encouraging automakers to produce a new generation of modern, clean-diesel cars and trucks."
- "produce and refine more crude oil here at home in environmentally-sensitive ways. ... the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska"
- "encourage the construction of new refineries on closed military facilities"
- "to develop new alternatives to gasoline and diesel. ... Hydrogen Fuel Initiative..."
- "promote ethanol as an alternative to foreign sources of oil"
- "help countries like India and China become more efficient users of hydrocarbons -- that will help take the pressure off global supply, it will take the pressure of gasoline prices here at home."
- "we need to expand production of safe, clean nuclear power."
It's interesting that he cited France as a model to follow in terms of nuclear power. It's nice to see the President taking on yet another critical issue that must be addressed, and I'm particularly glad that he effectively linked the national security and environmental issues, since that's one of my personal interests. It's too bad, however, that some of his proposals are old fashioned lame gestures and half measures. He could accomplish what all those proposals would do but in a much simpler and more direct way by just raising taxes on gas and diesel fuel to a level commensurate with their real long-term scarcity and environmental impact! Why is it so hard to enact such a measure? Oh yeah, because most American people regard cheap energy as an entitlement, and they'd rather have someone else pay for the consequences. The President has a long way to go before the gas guzzling public gets the message.