Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Congress threatens cheap, renewable energy

It may come to nothing, but two proposals have surfaced in Congress that threaten some of the most promising energy developments in recent years.

Offshore wind power survived one effort to slow its development in the Energy Policy Act of 2005, and now, new provisions in two pending bills in Congress are threatening wind power again.

An amendment inserted in the Defense Authorization Bill by Committee Chairman John Warner calls for a study of how wind energy projects might affect military radar systems, even though previous studies have already shown that radar interference is not a problem. Warner has been critical of wind platforms proposed for offshore Virginia.

Language in the Coast Guard authorization bill calls for the Guard Commandant to review offshore wind energy projects, a redundant measure since the Coast Guard already has the authority to review offshore wind projects on the issue of navigation.

On another front, hybrids and other fuel-efficient cars, are possible targets for new taxes. The recently passed $286.4 billion highway and public transit act, is projected to run out of money a year before it expires which has congressmen scrambling to find new sources of revenue for the notoriously pork laden bill.

These proposals may not go anywhere, but they are disturbing signs the congress still doesn't get it when it comes to energy.


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