[Date Prev][Date Next][Date Index]

E-M:/ What's actually in the energy bill . . .



-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Enviro-Mich message from mowens@pirgim.org
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Specific provisions of concern in the energy bill
Analysis by PIRGIM
Megan Owens - 734-730-5725, 202-546-9707

Public Health and the Environment:
§	Delays air pollution clean up in southwestern Michigan for two
years while the EPA conducts a study. Title IX, Section 970.

§	Allows more smog pollution for longer than the current Clean Air
Act authorizes.   Under the existing Act, areas that have unhealthy
air are required to reduce ozone-forming smog pollution by strict
statutory deadlines.  If these areas fail to meet these deadlines,
they are given more time to clean up, but must adopt more rigorous
air pollution control measures.  The bill attempts to allow polluted
areas to have more time to cleanup but without having to implement
stronger air pollution controls, placing a significant burden on
states and communities down-wind of the urban areas subject to this
provision.  Title XIV Sec. 1443 p. 43.

§	Lets polluters off the hook for contaminating groundwater with the
gasoline additive MTBE and other fuel additives.  Nullifies lawsuits
by cities, states and others filed on or after September 5, 2003
seeking compensation for contamination of groundwater by MTBE, a
probably human carcinogen.  Title XV Sec. 1502 p. 21.

§	Dramatically increases air pollution and global warming with huge
new incentives for burning coal, oil and gas.  Titles III, IV, VIII.

Consumers and Taxpayers
§	Gives tax breaks and subsidies to big energy companies. According
to the Congressional Budget Office, the bill’s price tag exceeds $50
billion over the next decade. These tax breaks and subsidies would
add $18 billion to the deficit. 

§	Tax breaks are even provided for technologies that will increase
pollution. Some of the most egregious subsidies include:
-	creating a new first-ever $6 billion tax break for operating new
nuclear reactors, Title XIII Section 45L;
-	creating a new, first-ever $1.5 billion tax break for burning coal,
Title XIII Sections 1351-1353.

§	Requires taxpayers, rather than polluters, to pay up to $2 billion
to clean up leaking underground storage tanks containing gasoline and
other toxic chemicals even at sites where viable responsible parties
are identifiable. Title XV, Subtitle B.

§	Forces state and local taxpayers, rather than responsible
companies, to assume an estimated $29 billion in cleanup costs from
at least 150,000 sites contaminated with the gasoline additive MTBE,
including over 9,000 sites in Michigan.  Title XV Sec. 1502 p. 21.

§	Repeals the Public Utility Holding Company Act, the main law to
protect consumers from market manipulation, fraud, and abuse in the
electricity sector even while evidence of corrupt industry behavior
is still front page news and ratepayers are owed billions to
compensate for the industry's illegal activities.  Title XII Sec.
1263 p. 92.

Energy and National Security
§	Reverses a long-standing U.S. nuclear non-proliferation policy
against reprocessing waste from commercial nuclear reactors and
against using plutonium to generate energy for commercial use.  Title
IX, Section 926

§	Reverses 10-year policy of restricting the export of bomb-grade
uranium for the benefit of one company. Title VI Sec. 633 p. 20.

Public Lands and Coastal Areas
§	Waives existing National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
environmental review and public participation process for all types
of energy development projects on Indian lands in favor of an
unspecified new process.  Title V.

§	Allows the Interior Secretary via “Secretarial Order” to designate
utility and pipeline corridors across public lands without seeking
public input through a land use planning process.  Title III Sec. 350
p.83.

§	Authorizes the leasing of the entire National Petroleum Reserve
Alaska for oil and gas production without protection for wildlife,
native subsistence hunting and fishing, and sensitive areas.  Also
gives away taxpayer dollars to the industry by allowing the Secretary
to waive royalties from any other production that occurs on this
land. Title III Sec. 317.

§	Authorizes $550 million ($50 million for 11 years) for timber
companies to remove trees in old growth forests, including large
fire-resistant trees important for forest health, and burn them for
energy. Title II Sec. 206.

The bill fails Michigan consumers and our environment:
§	Fails to include standards for providing clean, renewable energy
sources that would save consumers money on their utility bills,
benefit farmers, create jobs, spur economic development, and reduce
air pollution and global warming emissions.  Title XII.

§	Fails to take any step whatsoever to require that the nation reduce
its dependence on oil or improve the fuel economy of our cars, trucks
and SUVs. Title VII

§	Fails to ensure deployment of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles by
authorizing appropriations of $2.19 billion over the next five years
with no accountability for achieving oil savings or pollution
reductions. There are no production and deployment requirements, or
even goals, to ensure that a meaningful number of hydrogen vehicles
will be delivered to consumers.  Title VIII Secs. 803 & 809 pp. 3 &
18.

§	Fails to do anything to address global warming.






==============================================================
ENVIRO-MICH:  Internet List and Forum for Michigan Environmental
and Conservation Issues and Michigan-based Citizen Action.   Archives at
http://www.great-lakes.net/lists/enviro-mich/

Postings to:  enviro-mich@great-lakes.net      For info, send email to
majordomo@great-lakes.net  with a one-line message body of  "info enviro-mich"
==============================================================