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Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Energy Bill Moves Forward, Leaving Much Behind.

As U.S. politicians finalized changes for a compromised version of the energy bill that had passed the Senate, key positive aspects of the bill have been removed, much to my disappointment. The revised bill is more supportive of the production of fossil fuel production than its predecessor in its elimination of the plan to have 10 percent of U.S. electricity generated by renewable sources by 2020, as well as the proposed reduction of U.S. oil consumption by 1 million barrels per day. Ethanol use, which was pushed upwards in the Senate bill to expectations for production levels of 8 billion gallons, was reduced to 7.5 billion gallons in the new bill. I am disappointed to say the least, coming down from the highs I was feeling after the the Senate's version was passed that put renewables in the spotlight as a viable energy alternative and potential solution to the nation's energy prices, need for resource independence and the overall protection of our environment. I believe that Democratic Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota said it best is his statement, "We have a relentless addiction to oil. We need to address it."

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Breaking Old Habits

I recently read a piece on how the renewable community is praising efforts by General Electric for their focus and investment towards a 'Green' future and how the opposite attention has been granted to Exxon for their $100 million commitment to alternative energy research. GE has earned their reaction as a company who has worked consistently towards improving the quality of life for consumers, so it is a short jump to the renewable energy arena for them in the minds of the 'average Joe’. Exxon, whose recent actions indicate that they are certainly contributing to a healthier future, appears to be having a tougher time gaining the trust of environmentalists. While I am not convinced that a leopard can change its spots, I do believe that every little bit helps; especially when that 'little bit' translates into millions of dollars towards research for the development of alternative solutions to meet the increasing energy demands. Coming down hard on fossil fuel companies when they are not participating in the alternative energy cause is one thing, but faulting them when they DO participate seems illogical and counterproductive.